Friday, September 27, 2013

A Day in the Life...of a Teacher {9.24.13}

It was seriously hard to take pictures of my day all day!  Things started to get so insane during certain parts of the day and I realized way too late that I hadn't documented that's truly how a day in the life of a teacher is.  heh fact, I totally forgot to take a picture of my lunch time with my team.  Whoops!  And to think that is one of the only times I get such a large chunk of time (truly about 20 minutes) to sit and "relax".

I took all of my photos with my iPhone and filtered them through Instagram to do a sort of fun and matchy matchy black and white series of pictures...except for my outfit picture, because it was a bright blue and needed to be seen!

I am joining up with a few other teachers over on Second Grade Nest to give you a view into my day.

5:40 am | So, I get up at 5 am.  I get a lot of slack from others for this, but I put on a full, and I mean, full face.  I don't mean I plaster or cake it on, I just enjoy putting on makeup (foundation, brows, eyeshadow, liner, mascara, bronzer, blush, and lipstick).  It's a total accessory for me and it's possibly my favorite part of my morning routine.  I actually turn on YouTube and watch my favorite vloggers ever!...the SacconeJolys.  I wasn't about to take a picture of myself before 5:40.  LOL

6:25 am || Once I'm finally done with my makeup, I jump up to make my morning Shakeology (healthiest meal of the day).  It was Butterfinger this morning.  Then I sit back down at the computer to tinker around in my email inbox, Facebook, Bloglovin', Goodreads, and Twitter.  Does anyone else include this as part of their morning routine?

7:00 am | Quick check in the mirror to make sure I don't look a mess.  My top is from The Limited (and I wish you could see the texture here) and necklace is from Forever 21.  

7:34 am | Stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic as I drive into Phoenix...and this was AFTER I got off the freeway to avoid the bumper-to-bumper traffic that was on it.  Look in my rearview mirror and you can see the school was catching up to me while I was parked on the road.  Notice the sun flare?  The sun is always blasting in my windshield this early in the morning.  It normally takes me about 25-35 minutes to get to work.

7:45 am | Any teacher will see this and nod their head.  The mailboxes are one of those things that are part of every morning or day.  It's one of the first places I stop each morning and I thankfully had an empty box greeting me that morning.  Not that I am complaining.

8:10 am | My school day officially begins when I head outside to pick up my students.  Welcome to a way too bright and sunny day in the desert I call home, Arizona.

8:15 am | This is what a true multi-tasker looks like right here.  While my students are trickling in, grabbing breakfast, turning in their homework, and taking attendance...I am trying to finish up any loose ends I didn't get to finish before the bell rang.  My students take attendance on our ActivBoard (behind me) and read the morning message that scrolls across the screen via Tickertape.  

8:45 am | The real work begins as my students work on their calendar math...this of course was after they enjoyed about 15 minutes of relax and read time with books of their choice.  This is when I stopped taking pictures consistently.  Whoopsies.

9:10 am | Have you seen or read this book before?  It is one of my favorite picture books back from my college and student teaching days, called "The Gardener."  We were working on making inferences and drawing conclusions (for the 3rd day), so we were warming up with this book as a whole class.  They did pretty good actually!  This page right here is my favorite because it is a wordless 2-page spread showing the climax of the story.  Too bad this isn't in color!

10:35 am | Don't be jealous, but this is me and my team sitting in our first PLC meeting of the week.  But we also had my administrators and a PLC official in attendance watching and listening to us.  I am the team leader, so I was sitting behind the computer leading away.  I think we made quite the impression, as we are a pretty dang fantastic team who works super well together...and we get along very well too.  

12:20 pm | My absolute favorite part of each day is our read-aloud time right after lunch.  We all sit in the dark, with my Victorian lamp turned on.  Right now, we are enjoying The Lightning Thief.  This is the 4th time I've read this to a class and it is just as fun as each time before because the kids get so into it!

1:30 pm | Math notebooking as my kids learn how to use greatest common factors to simplify fractions.  They're doing better than I expected...yeah!

4:15 pm | My day continues outside of the classroom at a gifted training I am taking to finish up my hours for my full gifted endorsement and to continue learning how to best help my students.  I was there till about a long day.

7:41 pm | Finally on my way home after a long day for a much needed dinner and rest before heading out to do it all over again the next day.  In this case, the next day happened to hold our first field trip of the year in was going to be another long day.  

7:45 pm | Thankfully, I have an awesome hubby who had dinner ready for me when I walked through the door.  Yum!

8:00 pm | There was just enough time left to watch some of my guilty pleasure shows and get in some reading from this really good book I am reading.  Then, it's off to bed at 9pm, since I'm an old lady who gets up at 5 am.

Now it's your turn!  Even if you don't participate in the teacher linky...I'd love to get a perspective into your day in the life.  If you blog about it, definitely come back here and let me know.  

POPSUGAR Must Have {September 2013 Box Review}

I mentioned a little ways back that I had subscribed to a newer service after dropping Glossybox...and my new little surprise fun package finally came the other day!  That's right my friends...I am all over the POPSUGAR Must Have lifestyle monthly subscription now.  I'm so excited about this one because it's nothing like the beauty subscription boxes.  

September's POPSUGAR Must Have was a welcome sight when I came home on Tuesday night and opened my mail box.  It feels like it took absolutely forever to get here.  While I wasn't as impressed with this month's as I hoped I would be (I seriously hate that I didn't make it in soon enough to get last month's or the month before that).  But psssssssst...I found the BaubleBar rose gold chain necklace on eBay for $16 because someone who did get July's box didn't want it. Score!!

First Look

The Lowdown

Cost:  $35 a month (you get a discount if you subscribe for multiple months at once)

Coupon:  Use REFER5 to get $5 off of your first box!

Sign up now to get the November box and/or get on the wait list for October.  

The products:  Think lifestyle must have products for women procured by editors and celebrity varies from month to month and usually includes beauty, fashion, home, fitness, health and more.

Definitely add POPSUGAR Must Have to your wishlists or subscription services, because it is a unique box that is a ton of fun to open up.  FYI, my box weighed 4.1 pounds...helloooooooo!  I love that I get to enjoy items outside of the makeup and beauty realm that I have been getting in my Ipsy and Glossyboxes.  

The Goods

I have actually never heard of Erika or her DIY blog.  But I must say, the cover of this book had me seriously intrigued.  Doesn't it look fun?!  There is even a page showing how to access videos to see how to make some of the items.  Ever since I opened my box up, I've been going back and forth trying to decide if I like it or not.  You see, it's not exactly up my alley.  While I love to pin DIY projects on Pinterest, I never seem to want to make them.  I get bored too fast and frustrated when I have to make things.  Soooooo...I'm thinking of gifting it to a friend of mine who does love crafting and DIY.  Or perhaps, I'll invite girlfriends over to try a couple of them together.  Girlfriends gathered around laughing and enjoying some beverages would make this worth it I'd say.  

I did find a couple projects I might attempt (but maybe won't finish).  LOL  I definitely would NOT have bought this on my own, but I'm not sure if I'll be keeping it.

Rifle Paper Co. Botanical Coaster Set (paper coasters) - valued at $16

Let me be straight here.  I don't use coasters.  I've always had a set lying around with good intentions...but I never seem to use them.  They are super cute and girly, but I wish they weren't paper. They won't last long with me.  Although, I could easily see pulling these out and using them on a night when I host Bunco or book club with my girlfriends.  I'm sure they will all eat them up...and maybe I can even let them take it home as a sort of little reward.  I am a bit too much like my cats (or little kids) because I kind of like the sweet little box more.  

Barr-Co. Scent Diffuser - valued at $36

From their site, this diffuser is described as "The Barr-Co. original scent is a blend of milk, oatmeal, and veriver.  We use thick river reeds that saturate and thoroughly disperse scent.  Each reed diffuser is crafted and packaged by people in the U.S.A."  

This jar is gigantic and a really heavy thick glass.  When I first read the scent description, I really figured this was something that would make me vomit since I don't like vanilla much.  But with the combination of milk and is quite lovely.  The scent itself is very fresh, light, and clean with a hint of sweetness.  I put it in our guest bathroom last night and my husband doesn't mind it at all (the room is right next to his home office)...this is good!  Husband's approval. Check.

Might I add that this diffuser itself already covers the cost of the entire box?!  Score!

I have short hair and don't use hair ties or headbands much, so at first I was not happy with seeing this in my box.  But I quicky realized there was reason to be, there is a coral headband in this pack (yessssssss) and two, I have not had these new trendy type hair bands yet even though it seems everyone else has.  Not only that, but POPSUGAR helped me realize in the card that came with our box that I could use these to hold my hair back when I am removing my makeup in the evening or holding my wet or dry hair back in the morning as I get ready.  

Not sure why, but I pulled out the gray one first and have already used it twice.  Last night, it held my hair and bangs/fringe back really well without budging.  Then, this morning, I used it to hold back my wet hair and bangs/fringe the entire time I was getting ready and doing my makeup.  It is tight enough to hold on but not so tight that it cuts off the circulation.  They are quite comfortable, look great, and come in fun colors!!  I spotted some Chevron printed bands on their site...yes please!!  It makes me wish I had longer hair or didn't have bangs, so I could wear them out and about.

Shoptiques $25 giftcard - valued at $25

Free money?!  It was if you consider the diffuser already paid for the box itself.  Shoptiques is a super neat concept because it is a website that brings all sorts of boutiques around the world together in one site.  This includes Paris, Los Angeles, and The Hamptons.  

I was afraid the $25 wouldn't cover much, but there are several things on the site under that cost and quite a few items that are around $35 -$39.  I've already done my shopping and found an item that I am hoping will fit well and look great.  I really was hoping to find more closer to the cost of the card, but a lot of stuff was sold out in my size.  I'm thinking a lot of POPSUGAR subscribers raided the site of $25 items.  What's more annoying...that everything I seemed to be drawn to were from a couple different boutiques here in my own state.  Gah!  That's no fun!  I was hoping for an item from Connecticut or Louisianna.  Oh well.  

Here's what I spent my card on... a beige belted blazer from Pink House boutique in Arizona.  I know it looks weird, but I know just how to style it.  Brown tall boots, dark or even light skinny jeans, and a simple white or bright top.  Simple and with a snazzy touch of classic...just how I like it!  While I almost grabbed the black version, I remembered I already have 2 black blazers and the black one looked a bit too much like a hair stylist's smock to me.  
$32.99 (regularly $40)
with shipping and tax, it cost me $15 extra
The sleeves are cuffed and there are 2 side pockets
Both snacks are gluten and dairy free

This fruit bar's ingredients are simple...fruit and fruit, that's it!  So, hmmmmm...not a fan of mango or dried fruit type items.  But, I snacked on this little puppy at work today and was truly impressed.  It filled me up without even finishing it off.  The taste was completely natural without any sort of artificial sweetness.  The texture was a bit off-putting at first...but again, I'm not a fan of dried fruit.  Would I buy these if I ever saw them in my local grocery store?  Probably yes!  This flavor was a favorite of the editors at POPSUGAR, but there are many other combinations.

From the Sharkies site, "Developed by a triathlete, Sharkies provides clean fuel through simple carbohydrates and naturally occurring electrolytes.  Organized brown rice syrup in Sharkies delivers the simple carbohydrate glucose to provide a quick hit of energy for those times when you want to rest but resting is not an option." 

I'm not a runner nor a major gym-goer, but I was definitely interested in trying these out as soon as I opened my box.  Imagine being able to get hydrated and a bit of energy through a simple snack!  I ripped these open this afternoon at my after school leadership meeting.  The people sitting next to me were so curious about what I was eating that they were asking me what it was all about.  

I was expecting a gummy sort of consistency, but instead they were a lot softer than chewy.  So soft that they were getting stuck in my teeth pretty badly.  Grrrrrr.  I had to eat them with my front teeth so my back teeth didn't get all gummed up.  However, I did like the watermelon taste...and the stares I got as I chomped on shark-shaped gummies.  LOL  These aren't something I will buy on my own...but I know some runners and hardcore fitness peeps who would probably add these to their gym bags.  

Final Verdict

I paid $35 for the September box and got $120 worth of items from POPSUGAR Must Have!  That is by far better than any Glossybox I ever received in the 15 months that I was a subscriber.  Score another point for me!  

All in all, I liked 3 out of the 7 items in this box (and we shall see how I like the blazer when it gets here).  So, the verdict for September is 3 out of 5 stars.  Here's hoping the October box has some really great fall-inspired items.

What do you think of this month's box?  
Which item is your favorite or a must-have?  
Did you get a POPSUGAR Must Have box too...if so, what are you using your Shoptiques gift card on?  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What I Read Wednesday: A New Dystopian Favorite

Sooooo...I haven't exactly read much since I last posted 2 weeks ago.  How terrible of a reader am I?!  I cannot wait until my fall break starts the week after next, because I can hopefully sit and enjoy a couple books in that one week.  Big dreams and big hopes...we will see how well that works out for me, especially since I plan to do some fall cleaning and laundry catch-up!  Head over to Amy's post at Juice Boxes and Crayolas to check out other people's reads.

That being said, I did quite enjoy a dystopian fiction novel that has been on my to-reads list since I joined Goodreads almost 3 years ago.  Yikes!  Thankfully, I threw this choice in to my book club voting poll and it was this month's pick.  Finally, I was able to read it and it did not disappoint.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman | Seeing as how Hunger Games is my all-time favorite dystopian fiction novel, and many others that I have read have not topped it...I am happy to say this one is a definite stand-out in this genre. It has so many philosophical and morality issues faced in the present.  But because it is dystopian, it gives you a view into what all these arguments and violent reactions could possibly cause...AKA The Heartland Wars (the 2nd Civil War) over pro-life and pro-choice.

Kids can basically be "sold" by their families if they are unruly or not learning to be good and unwound so that every single body part and organ can be passed on to someone in need.  In this way, humans live on, thereby bypassing the whole dying or wasting a life argument.  But as one can imagine, this is still pretty darn immoral!  Any child can be unwound, until they turn 18.  Not only that, there are kids called tithes, who are born and then raised knowing they are going to be unwound because it follows their religious beliefs...a sacrifice.

You can possibly imagine how many people go against this insanely immoral practice, so many children run away and try to escape either before they are unwound or when they are on their way to be unwound at what they call harvest camps.  It just keeps getting crazier doesn't it?!

So of course, the main characters cover the gamete of children facing unwinding.  This story is told from each of their points of view (back and forth between chapters) and even random people or groups are thrown in to share their point of view.  I loved this style of writing as it really helped me see, feel, and consider all sides of this unwinding process brought on by the Heartland Wars.

Just know, you will question yourself as you read this as you are slammed with situation after situation of life surrounding Unwinding.  Neal Shusterman has definitely joined my list of authors I want to read more from...including the rest of this series.

From Goodreads:  The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars ||  Goodreads Average:  4.22 stars

Please feel free to add me on Goodreads or follow my reviews there.  I absolutely love discovering new and interesting books that I may not have found otherwise.  

What have you read lately?  Anything you care to share?  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Special Edition Sort of Post

I was so kindly nominated for the Sunshine Blog Award by Amy at Juice Boxes and Crayolas this past week and well...she made my day when I read my name amongst the other 9 bloggers she nominated!

About the award:The award is circulated to those bloggers to let them know that their posts brighten your day.

The Rules:
1.  Include award logo in a post or on your blog.
2.  Link to the person who nominated you -- See above (click on award)!
3.  Answer 10 questions about yourself.
4.  Nominate 10 bloggers to receive the award. Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs letting them know they’ve been nominated.

1. Favorite guilty pleasure TV show?
Where do I even begin? I like to watch a lot of mindless TV (AKA guilty pleasure TV), especially when I get home from a long day of teaching.  There's no thinking involved, which is just how I like it.  I'm a bit of a reality TV addict...see previous blog post here for proof.  
But if I have to choose just one, then it would easily be Real Housewives of Beverly Hills...since my original, The Hills (see blog post link), is no longer on the air.  Waaaah!  I love me some RHOBH and for some reason, other than the Atlanta franchise, it's the only one I really like to watch.  There's something about those women and the extravagance of BH that I just love.  Or maybe it goes back to my junior high and high school love of 90210.  Oh and one can't get enough of Jiggy.

2. 5 picks for Desert Island books (the 5 books you would take if you were stranded for the rest of your life on a desert island)
Man these are hard!...only because I have a hard time narrowing down favorites to such a small number.  I would definitely take my all-time favorite book ever, To Kill a Mockingbird.  Close after that would be books like The Help, The Hunger Games, James and the Giant Peach, and to round it out let's say Something Borrowed for some chic lit fanfare.  (but really, why don't you just click over to my Goodreads favorite shelf to see what I really love?)

3. Favorite way to spend a Saturday?
No matter what I have planned for a Saturday, my favorite thing to do is curl up with my current favorite book on my reading chair, under a blanket, and devour it while my husband is still asleep and the house is quiet.  My hubby and I do love to go see morning movies too on our little date days.  

I wish I could say this was my house...but rather, it is a resort in Tubac, Arizona I stayed at this past January.  Best Saturday reading spot ever!
4. Favorite way to stay in shape?
Is this a trick question?  When I am working out, my favorite...absolute to dance.  I love things like Zumba.  I used to love my hip hop class at my local gym (taught by a former Raiderette) as well as a Latin Dance class.  These types of workouts never feel like workouts to me because time flies and I have so much fun!

5. Favorite holiday tradition?  (Any holiday!)
Anyone who knows me well will tell you it is Christmas.  I absolutely love decorating the daylights out of my house.  There's just something about it...but excuse me...I cannot stand the fact stores are starting it earlier and earlier with the music and the decorations.  Quit it!  You are ruining the spirit of it!!!  My husband and I have a HUGE Christmas party at our house every year and invite all our crazy friends.  It is never a dull moment and we have way too much fun.

But I also truly love Halloween...not for the costumes and candy, but for the amazing marathons of horror, thriller, and suspense flicks on all sorts of stations.  Yes!!

6. What's your typical lunch during the week?  Do you go out or bring your lunch?
I'm a bring-your-leftovers to work kind of person.  My hubby makes tasty meals and we always have enough so I can have it for lunch the next day.  Back in the day during my first several years of teaching, we had enough time to run to our favorite place and grab lunch to go and eat it back at school. But those days are looooooooong gone. 

7. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Where do I begin?  I remember wanting to be a trapeze artist, but that is because I had just seen the Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey Circus. Then, my mom claims I started talking about being a teacher...I don't remember.  There were times I wanted to be an orthodontist (because I loved mine I guess) and an architect, since I was loving my drafting class in junior high.  By 10th grade, I was set on being a teacher. 

8. What is the best concert you have ever attended?
Hmmmm...I haven't been to too many.  I DON'T count the country concerts my mom dragged me to when I was a kid.  My first big concert was to see Metallica in 1998, which was pretty darn good!  But I have to say all the small punk concerts my hubby and I went to in college were pretty top notch.  My favorite out of those would probably have to be seeing NOFX, Lagwagon, and more at House of Blues in Vegas or perhaps one of the several times I got to see Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies with Spike or Mad Caddies.   I bet I have some readers who didn't see that coming! 

9. Fill in the blank: I almost never leave Target without _______.
Easy.  Makeup or shoes.  See evidence below...
Case in point #1 (brown boots)
Case in point #2 (leopard flats)
May I have a moment of silence for this pair?  These broke a couple months ago after enjoying 2 years with them.
You get the idea...I love Target's shoes, boots, and sandals.  It's a given.  I always visit their makeup section as well, whether it's for makeup or nail polish.

10. What's one goal you have for this week?
I have a ton of blog posts I need to that is a definite goal.  

I would like to nominate 10 bloggers for the Sunshine Award:
2.  Ari @ The Pace of It All
4.  Luis @ Extra Bit of Chicken
5.  Jayme @ Is Daddy Home Yet?
7.  Kristine @ YoungTeacherLove
8.  Kelsey @ Apple a Day
10.  Raliat @ RallyDFashionFanatic

My 10 Questions:
1.  If you could go back in to the past to relive an event or change an event, what would it be?
2.  Where is your favorite place to be?
3.  (Stealing this one from Amy)  What are your top 5 favorite books that you would take to a deserted island?
4.  If you could have one last meal, what would it be?
5.  How do you like to spend your spare time most often?
6.  Name your favorite childhood TV show or movie.
7.  How do you like to pamper yourself (daily or occasionally)?
8.  Who is your style icon?  If you don't have one...who is a celebrity you have a crush on?
9.  If you won the lottery, what would you spend your winnings on?
10.  Name your worst pet peeve....go!

I cannot wait to read your responses!  And thanks again to Amy for nominating me!  Even if you didn't get nominated by me...feel free to answer the questions in a comment below.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Ipsy Glambag "Classic Beauty" | September 2013

Okay, so I'm a bit of a makeup hoarder, errrrr, collector, I mean, user.  But I'm also a fan of trying out beauty subscriptions.  I've been subscribed to Ipsy for almost 2 years now and haven't looked back.  I used to be a Glossybox subscriber for over a year, but theirs was just not living up to the price tag and I wasn't digging enough of what they were sending me, even though the boxes were fun and I would get a pretty nice item I ended up purchasing more of every so often.

If you're new to the whole beauty subscription world, Ipsy is a $10 monthly subscription service in which you receive a variety of beauty and makeup deluxe samples and even full-size items each month. You actually get 5 items per month, which is a pretty darn good deal for $10!  They send you items based on a style quiz you take on their site.  The difference between Ipsy and Birchbox (which is also a $10 service) is Ipsy matches up the products you get to what you like and their items are always bigger...many of my friends have cancelled Birchbox because they send repeats and foil packets rather than deluxe samples.  But that is just my opinion and insight.  Ipsy also does way more makeup than Birchbox does and that is a HUGE plus for me.  Oh and they send them in specialized makeup bags every month, rather than boxes.

Anyway!  While this month was not my favorite by far, I still liked my items more than I ever did with my Glossybox boxes.  The theme this month was "Classic Beauty" and my items were definitely toned down colors, so I went back in to my "room" and changed my settings because even though classic is my style and preference, I want them to send me more adventurous items.  Let's hope it works for next month!
I try not to look at the website before I get my bag, because they do show you what you will be receiving according to your quiz.

Little screenshot from my "Glam Room"
In my bag this month:

We also got a bonus item this month of a new set of palettes coming from the founder of Ipsy.  It's a very small sample though.  I do love the colors I got, so we shall see what the quality is like and how the colors work out.  As long as they are buttery and have color pay-off, I'll like them.

From left to right:

Elizabeth Mott It's so Big Mascara (sample) | Full size at 10ml for $19.99
I'm too happy with my drugstore mascara to ever enjoy the teeny tiny samples they send me.  The brushes are so hard to use and I find they tend to be gloppy.  Although, each time I've pulled the wand out of this sample, this seems to be one of those formulas that has those this might be worth a little shot.  I don't love the larger price tag.  I used to use Laura Mercier and Benefit mascaras that were expensive, yet my $2.99 Jordana mascara works just as well!

Starlooks Kohl Eye Pencil in Obsidian (full size) | $12.00
I am really tired of getting black eyeliners in almost all my bags this past year.  It's the reason I went in and retook my quiz today.  Perhaps if they sent more vibrant or trendy colors, I'd be more willing to try it.  But again, I'm too happy with my black liquid liner that I use everyday to try one of the many different liners they keep sending in the same color.

NYX Single Eyeshadow in Sparkle White (full size) | $4.50
I love that Ipsy sends NYX products often.  They have ever since I started subscribing, which is basically since they came on the scene.  Their lipsticks, butter glosses, liners, and eyeshadows are all great.  While I need more eyeshadows like I need more holes in my head, I always embrace them!  NYX shadows are that fantastic buttery and colorful type that work so well for a higher-end drugstore brand.   I will probably only use this as a highlighter, but would have rather had one of the other shades I saw so many other online subbies get.  Waaaaaah!

John Freida full REPAIR shampoo and conditioner (deluxe sample size) | Full size at 8.45 fl. oz for $6.59 each
Ugh.  I am so picky about my shampoo and conditioner these days because I finally found one that doesn't wash out my hair tint that my stylist uses.  It's an expensive one, but I of course got them during Beauty Brand's liter sale.  I digress.  So, I tend not to like trying samples out.  But I'll give this set a go since my hair is due for a color job soon and this won't affect the color much at this point.  It claims to help out hair that has been overworked by heating and styling.  Sounds like something I could use!

from left to right:  NYX shadow, Starlooks kohl eyeliner, Elizabeth Mott mascara, full REPAIR conditioner, and full REPAIR shampoo

See how utterly boring and underwhelming my bag was this month?!  Sigh.  Funny that my first review I decide to put on my blog...even though I used to do them on my old Tumblr...has to be this plain vanilla bag.  My friend got a super fiery tinted red balm and some people got this awesome wine colored Butter London polish. See?!  Waaaaah!  

I promise, I usually am way more in love with my bags than this and they usually are quite fun.  Oh well.  Next month. 

If you'd like to subscribe for $10 a month and get the latest and greatest in makeup and beauty, join up!

Do you subscribe to any monthly services?  What do you think of the products I received?  Have you tried any of them and have any insight for me?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hilarity Ensues...I Discovered a New App!

Have you heard of the smartphone app called Speech Jammer?!  Well, if not...keep reading, because it is one of the most entertaining apps I have downloaded in a long time.

What is it?  Basically, it jams your speech.  And what ensues is listening to someone who talks at a normal speed and intonation on any given day to someone who can't seem to form words, drags out the syllables, and just sounds plain silly!

Images from the Apple App store
My hubby and I just had the best time and hurt our stomachs from laughing so hard at each other.  At first, we used one of my young adult books to try the app out.  But it was too easy to read.  So, my hubby pulled out one of his Biology textbooks with tons of long scientific words.

Since this is probably the first time most of my readers have ever heard me talk, I shall give a little PSA. I recorded myself reading the paragraph without Speech Jammer, just so you could hear the insane difference.  Initially, I had a hard time not getting my speech jammed up because I was reading slowly so I wouldn't mess up.  But it's not fun if you work too hard against it.

First up...
Here is the audio recording of me reading a paragraph out of my husband's Biology textbook.  I promise you, I am a fantastic reader who doesn't normally sound like a robot.  What's even funnier?  I seemed to have developed a weird accent as I was trying my hardest to read through the words.  Gah!  (sorry for the throat clearing)

And proof that I can read pretty darn well! I read the same paragraph.

For an extra laugh...this is of my husband reading his own textbook.  He will tell anyone that he is not a fantastic reader, but he almost does better than me.

What do you think?  I hope you at least got a decent laugh out of this.  Try it out for yourself.  It's free and seems to be available for all smartphones!  We plan on forcing house guests to do this so we can have a good laugh.  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What I Read Wednesday: A Random Mix

This week's What I Read is a bit of a mix, but with good reason!  I have had the first book on my to-read list for over a year and finally pushed it to the top of my list once I was done plugging through my summer reads.  It was a welcomed addition to my carry-on bag when I traveled back home to California last weekend too.  Books like this one make sitting in an airport and a claustrophobic airplane a much easier event to handle.  Now the other two, well, I am reading them because I won the 3rd book on Goodreads as a First Reads book...and there was no way I was going to read it until I read the first two in the series.  They seem to be a bit Indie looking, but worth it to try out.  I got both of them for $1.99 and $2.99 on my iPad Kindle.

I am really glad to be able to link up with Amy now that she is back to doing the linky for Wednesday. Definitely click over and see what she has she has great taste, just like me!  That and several other people link up as you can get triple the amount of book recommendations!  Whoops!  It's not till next week.  Check back then!

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green | Like I said, this one was a must-read for awhile for me.  Tons of my Goodreads friends had already read it and rated it quite high.  Not to mention, it is being made into a movie and I wanted to jump on it before it was too late.

At the same time, I put off reading this for so long because I was afraid of how sad it would be.  But, that wasn't so.  Green did a fantastic job of writing this in a way that made you hurt for the characters, yet understand they were on a different wavelength when it came to their terminal illnesses.  Was I expecting the twist that was thrown at me?  Certainly not.  To me, the twist made this much more intense than it would have been, had it ended the way I thought it would.  Of course, I won't say much more than that, so as not to give anything away.

Green is quite the talented author as he weaved a beautifully sad and powerful story together of a teenager who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, which became something more.  She is shut off in her house surrounded only by her parents.  Despite having friends still, she just can't relate and they can't relate to her.  That is what makes this story that much better.  She evolves, despite her large setback.  What occurs is a beautiful love story most adults still only dream of. I was surprised I didn't cry, as I thought I would...but I also found some of my Goodreads friends didn't either.  I didn't need the passengers on the plane wondering what was wrong with me anyway.

From Goodreads:  Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars  ||  Goodreads Average:  4.41stars

Abducted by T.R. Ragan | Would I ever have picked this up on my own?  Nope!  After stumbling upon the third in the series, called A Dark Mind, on the First Reads giveaway page and reading the synopsis, I was intrigued and entered to win...and won a copy! But there's no way I was going to skip the first two, especially when I read the synopsis of this series starter.  

If you are a fan of movies such as Silence of the Lambs and/or Seven, you will love this one!  I don't normally read books like this, but yet, this is a new favorite.  It reads just like the above-mentioned movies...there may even be a bloody body part sent to someone in a box!  Maybe.  

Lizzy Gardner is a private investigator in Sacramento, California. (Shout out to my college years!...well, at least I was 1.5 hours north of it)  But flashback to 14 years prior to and you learn she was the lone survivor of a crazy serial killer who goes by the name of Spiderman.  You see, he thinks he is some kind of vigilante getting rid of teenage girls who don't respect their elders and the like.  Let me just put it to you this way...he's a crazy freak who loves his spiders way too much!  Gives me the willies just thinking about why they call him this though.  Anyway, back to the present...he suddenly begins contacting Lizzy again even though everyone thought he was in prison behind bars.  Think again.  

My rating:  4 out of 5 stars  ||  Goodreads Average:  3.89 stars

Dead Weight by T.R. Ragan |  I had high hopes for this one since the first was so darn good!  Sadly, it left a lot to be desired.  While Abducted read like some of my favorite thriller/suspense movies, this one reminded me a bit too much of a Scooby Doo cartoon. You know the moment when they are chasing some crazy person who is wearing a mask and they seem to go back and forth between whodunnit?  It wasn't nearly as cheesy or horrible, but it certainly lived up to its title a bit too much...dead weight.  But the great news is that the reviews for the 3rd are way better.  Phew!

This one picks up a couple months after the first one.  All the characters are trying to come to terms with what happened to them surrounding the Spiderman serial killer.  In other words, they are all a bit messed up in the head.  Yet, the plot never seemed to get moving enough and the side story about Hayley (one of the important characters in the first) felt like it didn't quite fit.  But her story is a large part of the 3rd it seems.  

If it wasn't for the 3rd book being sent to me, I may have glazed over the rest of the series.  Stay tuned for the next post and I'll let you know how the 3rd turns out.  

From Goodreads:  Hoping murder and mayhem are behind Lizzy, she delves into her first cold case: twenty-one years ago, a girl went missing and the girl’s dying mother is more desperate than ever to know what happened to her only child.

My rating:  3 out of 5 stars  ||  Goodreads Average:  3.70 stars

Please feel free to add me on Goodreads or follow my reviews there.  I absolutely love discovering new and interesting books that I may not have found otherwise.  

I'd love to know what you have been reading or have read lately!  Care to share?

If you feel up to up with Amy.  She is hosting the linky party every other week.    That of course...being next week.  :-)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Currently September

It's a new month and with that comes a new Currently!  I'm now in my 4th week (technically 5th, but we started mid-week) and it seems my students are getting a much better hang of my routines and expectations.  Not sure what I mean? is my last post.

Listening:  When I get home from work each day, I tend to flop on to the couch because I'm so hot and sweaty from the ride home.  I put on a mindless show while I eat a snack and wind down.  Thank goodness for air conditioning in the desert!  Teen Mom 3 is a total guilty pleasure along with so many other reality TV shows I watch...but it's the perfect thing to watch while I adjust to being home.

Loving:  Who doesn't love a 4-day week?!  It's the 2nd best part of a 3-day weekend.  Although, for some reason 4-day work weeks always seem to go by slower.  It must be Murphy's Law or something.

Thinking:  I'm still playing quite a bit of catch-up since school started.  While I feel like I'm adjusting more to the new school year, there's always something I realize I forgot or didn't do yet...whether it's at home or at work.

Wanting:  I subscribed to a new beauty/women's box 2 months ago (after canceling Glossybox and I still get Ipsy) was full till I finally get one this month!!  I can't wait to find it waiting for me in our mailbox and pop it open.  I'd love to put it up on the blog with pictures and a review each month.  So keep your out for that!

I would the end of the month:
1)  Like I said, I am playing catch up constantly...but this applies to doing chores at home so much more.  Lots of laundry and organizing.  Where's a maid when you need one?!
2)  I've been slowly getting back into reading books for fun and I'm hoping to get through 3 books this month.
3) Speaking of catching would be nice to hang out with friends more this month now that school isn't eating up my every waking hour.

Link up with Farley and post your own Currently!