Monday, February 29

this week's clicks: i'm a fool for love...

get your week off to a colorful start...
  • Lord Huron's "Fool for Love" is giving me serious Bruce Springsteen meets zen garden vibes... very unique and cool!




Saturday, February 27

2016 Reader Survey Reflection

At the beginning of the month, I was inspired to create a reader survey to get to know you better and learn more about which blog content you enjoy, what content you're not feeling anymore, and what you want to see more of in the future. Thank you so much to everyone who responded to the survey!

Friday, February 26

#5FandomFriday: What's In My Purse

5 Fandom Friday is a weekly prompt challenge hosted by The Nerdy Girlie and Super Space ChickThis week's #5FandomFriday topic is "What's In My Purse." Sadly, I don't have anything really geeky that I carry around (though I always seem to have a puzzle or some sort of squishy ball that I keep on hand for especially distracted students, and this week it's a Rubik's Cube!). Here are the 5 items I legally shouldn't be allowed to leave the house without.

1. Portable planner - I've recently gotten fascinated the world of bullet journaling and planner decorating thanks to Tumblr and Pinterest, and hope to start a fancy new journal soon, but in my own life I'm still using 2 premade planners: a big one that stays open on my desk at school, and this purse-sized version that matches perfectly, used to keep track of blog stuff and appointments. They are made by a company called Blue Sky and I always find them at Wal-Mart during back-to-school season (As a teacher, I operate on an August-July calendar).

2. Wallet - I feel like the switch from a Vera Bradley change purse to a big ol' checkbook-sized wallet was a sign of adulthood. I have three wallets this size that also make good night-out clutches in a pinch. This one is Jessica Simpson from TJ Maxx and holds Very Important Things like my library card.

3. SNACK! - Since I found out I was pre-diabetic, I've been trying to eat small meals throughout the day instead of three big meals. If I don't eat a snack during my planning period work and again between lunch and dinner, I become HANGRY.

4. Anxiety meds - Just being totally honest here. Thank you, anxiety meds, for helping me get my life back on track. I don't need you very often anymore, but I like knowing you are there.

5. Sunglasses - I'm a wimp who can't stand the idea of poking my eyes every day to put in contacts, so I have to switch glasses every time I go from indoors to outdoors. Since I have to wear sunglasses for driving and outdoor activities, I make sure mine are cute but also classic enough to be in style for several years since prescription lenses are expensive. My current pair are Ray-Bans called "Jackie Ohh" and I love that the color of the frames fades from brown to purple.

Tuesday, February 23

literary junkies - february 2016

Pink Heels Pink Truck

Here are this month's questions:

1. What are you reading right now? Tell us about it.

I just finished the Welcome to Night Vale novel by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. I'd listened to a few episodes of the podcast a while back after seeing some of Celeste's doodles inspired by the show and wondering who Cecil and Carlos were and why Tumblr was so obsessed with them! I didn't get obsessed with it, but I appreciated the weird, Lovecraftian surrealism - probably my favorite Night Vale offshoot is their Twitter account, actually. I didn't know about the book until a few of my fellow Female Geek Bloggers mentioned it, and then saw it under my library's new eBook releases. Just as the podcast took me a few episodes to appreciate, it took me a few chapters to get into the book, which focuses on two mysteriously connected characters, perpetually 19-year-old pawn shop owner Jackie and single mom (to a shapeshifting teenage boy) Diane. They live in the utterly weird desert town "where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep." The book's mystery begins when a bland-looking man in a tan jacket gives Jackie a piece of paper she can't put down, and a similarly forgettable man goes missing from Diane's office (Evan? Ethan? Everett? What was that guy's name again?). The trouble with living in Night Vale is knowing when something weird is actually weird enough to be worried about.

2. Have you ever read a book that made you want to immediately travel to that destination?

Nothing comes to mind automatically, but in college I desperately wanted to move to New York and I think it was because I was reading large quantities of "chick lit," like The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, where the main characters were usually in low-level publishing jobs in the city.

3. What is your ideal reading spot? (Ex. Reading nook in a library, in bed, in a hammock on the beach, etc)

I guess I should say my zebra chair in my classroom, because I love reading to my kiddos every chance I get, but I can't lie, my end of the sofa is indented lower than Mr. Q's because it's the perfect cozy spot to read, usually early in the morning or late at night. However, my all-time favorite reading spot anywhere in the world is the McGregor Room in Alderman Library at UVa - the closest I'll ever get to the Gryffindor Common Room. I also spent a lot of time lying on the grass with a book in the Ampitheatre on sunny days when I was in college. As a tween reader, it was this spot at my local public library.

4. If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be?

I can't even think of a new name for this blog, but I think my memoir would need to be called 30 Going on 13 because teaching middle school is the biggest part of my life, I love puns, and my students are my heart and soul (and best source of funny stories and quotes like, "School food is for hobos.")

5. One of our great literary giants has recently passed, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee. Did you read the book? Thoughts/opinions. What about Go Set a Watchman

I have a cat named Scout; what do you think? TKAM was required reading in 10th grade advanced English at my school, and even though most of my classmates were overwhelmed by the length and serious subject matter, I got hooked (it helped that my mom had already shown me the movie!). I can still remember my teacher describing it as a "perfect book" and explaining that she meant that there wasn't a single word or phrase in the novel that didn't need to be there. Since then, I've always tried to remember that good writing should be succinct. I did read Go Set a Watchman, and while I wasn't blown away by it in a literary sense I could really relate to Scout's struggle - when you grow up, how do you continue to love your family members once you see that they are flawed?

What have you been reading lately? Come link up with us at 

Monday, February 22

this week's clicks: let's start carving our own path...

get your week off to a colorful start...
  • Though the video there says "Imaginary Friend," this band is actually called Imaginary Future and their song "Love is Beginning" is from the album Sunlight, which is full of lovely tracks.




Sunday, February 21

sunday simplicity.

“There is a very real relationship, both 
quantitatively and qualitatively, between what you 
contribute and what you get out of this world.”
― Oscar Hammerstein II

Saturday, February 20

valentine's book tag.

Book tags are by far one of my favorite solutions to blogger writing block. When Ashlee from Her Geekery posted her answers to this tag, I knew I had to get on board, even though we're a little past V-Day now.

Standalone Book I Love

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater - Maggie is my favorite YA fantasy author, and in The Scorpio Races she takes the Celtic myth of the water horse and creates a tiny, magical world: the island of Thisby, where brave and foolish men race the dangerous creatures each November. The main character, Puck, is a tomboy who dreams of racing and hopes to hold her family together.

Dystopian Book I Love

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld - I fell in love with this series while I was still in college and I'm still amazed that it's not more popular. In the society where Tally lives, teenagers receive plastic surgery that makes them perfect and beautiful - but not everyone is on board with the procedure or the society's ideals. I loved that the series is really about Tally's relationships with her friends and how those ties are challenged as teenagers develop their own interests and passions and try to create an "image" for themselves in an world that is obsessed with appearances. I also enjoyed the standalone book Extras, which complements the series and serves as a commentary on our social media addicted society.

A Book That I Love But No One Else Talks About 

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi - This YA science fiction series is romantic and creative - Aria, a girl from the most technologically advanced part of society, where life is lived basically in virtual reality and people are protected from the elements, must brave the wilderness to find her missing mother. She meets and falls in love with Peregrine, who lives in a tribal society "Dwellers" like Aria consider savage. The worldbuilding, and the romance between Aria and Perry, are so compelling, and this series deserves just as much acclaim and fame as The Hunger Games and Divergent.

My Favorite Book Couple

Jamie and Claire from Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - I don't think I'll ever get tired of gushing about the Outlander series or my darling Mr. and Mrs. Fraser. These two are completely protective of and devoted to each other, and they don't hesitate to put each other in their place when needed. 
They have an electric love that spans time and distance, from the Scottish highlands to the royal court of Paris, and a romance that is both tender and passionate. Diana Gabaldon is one of few authors that can get me to read 800+ pages at a time, and I keep coming back for more.

A Book That Other People Love But I Haven’t Gotten Around To Reading

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson - I added this book to my to-be-read list after listening to Kristin from My Life as a Teacup's review on her YouTube channel. Just based on the cover art alone, it looks awesome, and the fact that it's about a supervillain's sidekick is so creative and unique - as much as I love swords and sorcery, I always enjoy sarcastic takes on the genre. I suppose until I do finally get my hands on the book, I should check out the original webcomic by Noelle Stevenson.

A Book with Red on the Cover

The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank - One of my all-time favorites, I discovered this bildungsroman, in the form of a collection of short stories, when I was in college, and the timing was perfect because I identified so much with a lot of what the main character, Jane, was going through. In the book, she deals with childhood friendships, changing relationships with her parents and brother, her first career in publishing, and several relationships. Bank's writing style is simple and funny, and Jane's voice came through as if the book was a memoir.

A Book with Pink on the Cover

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling - The book of essays that officially made me want to be Mindy Kaling's best friend. From her lack of athletic ability, to her move to New York, to "types of women in romantic comedies who are not real," to Irish exits, I laughed out loud so many times while reading this one The fact that I cannot currently call Mindy Kaling from my bathtub and share stories and giggles with her proves that we live in a fundamentally unjust world.

You Were Given A Box Of Chocolate, What Fictional Boyfriend Would Have Given Them To You?

Carswell Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer - Although the chocolates would probably be stolen and Captain Thorne would surely have some sort of ulterior motive in giving them to me, how can anyone resist a character who is basically a younger, sassier version of Malcolm Reynolds?

You Are In The Book Store, All Of A Sudden You Get Shot With An Arrow By Cupid. What New Release Will You Love? 

Nicole Burstein's Othergirl - this book came out in 2015 and sounds adorable. From Goodreads: "Louise and Erica have been best friends since forever. They're closer than sisters and depend on each other for almost everything. Just one problem: Erica has superpowers. When Erica isn't doing loop-the-loops in the sky or burning things with her heat pulse powers, she needs Louise to hold her non-super life together. After all, the girls still have homework, parents and boys to figure out. But being a superhero's BFF is not easy, especially as trouble has a way of seeking them out. Soon Louise discovers that Erica might be able to survive explosions and fly faster than a speeding bullet, but she can't win every fight by herself. Life isn't a comic book - it's even crazier than that."

Thursday, February 18

who to follow on instagram.

Instagram has been my favorite form of social media for several years running and I don't see that changing any time soon. Here are the feeds I'm loving right now...

aburstofbeautiful - Blogger Alicia shares shots of her lovely home which is decorated in cozy modern farmhouse style, including her perfect kitchen, sweet vignettes, and the occasional puppy or kitty photobomb.

mistyonpointe - I studied ballet for eleven years, and have loved seeing ABT's first African-American principal dancer become a celebrity - I've also seen a few of my own students inspired by her story. She is grace, beauty, and strength personified.

octoberjuneblog - blogs about branding, and her Instagram feed features consistently simple, pretty peeks at her everyday life and casual-chic fashion; I love that she includes her geeky side as well - she's an unabashed Harry Potter and X-Files fan.

mscraftberrybush - Blogger Lucy is a talented artist and decorator, and her feed features pretty vignettes from around her home, watercolors and other works in progress, and fun shots of her family's dog, Brody!

kaisafit - Kaisa Keranen has an M.S. in Exercise Science and her feed is always happy and upbeat - even when she has a broken leg. I've gotten some good ideas from her workout videos. Her pictures are a great source of gym style inspiration, too!

palmtreesandtaxis - East coast college student and fashion blogger Claire's Instagram feed has such a fun aesthetic - ocean waves, neon signs, and palm trees even in the dead of winter, alongside fashion and travel photos.

Previously recommended: 

Are you on Instagram?  I'd love to follow you!
Leave your username in a comment to this post -
(you can follow me here). 

Tuesday, February 16

style: favorite 2016 GRAMMY's looks.

The 2016 award season continued last night with one of the classiest GRAMMY Awards ceremonies in recent memory - Kendrick Lamar's cerebral performance will be analyzed for the next week,  Lady Gaga's tribute to the late David Bowie was spot on, and the live performance by the cast of Hamilton was a treat. Celebrities in attendance even seemed pretty pumped about getting glitter-bombed by Taylor Swift. Fashion-wise, where the GRAMMY Awards are an opportunity to have fun with red carpet fashion that sometimes leads to celebrities going a little crazy, the attendees, presenters, and performers seemed to have an understanding that the two themes for the night's dress code were "streamlined" and "sparkling." Image sources can be found here on my Pinterest.

In my opinion, the two classiest looks of the night were expectant mother Chrissy Tiegen's white gown, glittering cape, and miniaudiere purse, and Anna Kendrick's black gown with sheer panels - elegant, simple, and perfect for a presenter.

My favorite looks of the night were elegant gowns with personality - both of these are works of art. Kacey Musgraves' ombre Armani Prive ballgown suits her colorful personality and I like that she kept the rest of her look simple. I wasn't sure who Lianne La Havas was (she's a British folk singer), but her  chartreuse gown (with pockets!) looked worthy of the Met Gala paired with her slightly bohemian updo.

Demi Lovato clearly had a formula for her red carpet and performance looks: suit jacket + no shirt + statement jewelry. Paired with a black manicure, she looked fierce onstage and off, like a sexy Bond villain.

While I do not like to body-shame other women for any reason, my concern that Taylor Swift might need a little more fat in her diet kept me from being able to totally get on board with her '90s throwback tube top and open skirt, but I loved her Anna Wintour bob, tangerine lipstick, and multicolored choker necklace. 

As far as my favorite performance outfits of the night, aside from Demi's suit, I loved Adele's intricately detailed deep red gown and matching manicure, and adored Brittany Howard's ivory dress, cape, and statement earrings. She's a rock goddess and the fabulous look was a nice departure from her usual retro florals.

What were your favorite moments and looks 
from this year's GRAMMY Awards?

Monday, February 15

this week's clicks: we can be the only ones that know.

get your week off to a colorful start...
  • Singer-songwriter Inzi has the sweetest voice that is providing the perfect soundtrack to watch snowflakes fall outside my window this morning - I think fans of Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson will like her music.




Friday, February 12

#5FandomFriday: Galentine's Day!

5 Fandom Friday is a weekly prompt challenge hosted by The Nerdy Girlie and Super Space ChickThis week's #5FandomFriday topic is Womances, so I'm sharing my all-time favorite fictional female friendships and the ones that remind me the most of my own friendships.

Anne Shirley and Diana Barry - As an imaginative, dreamy child who wanted to be an author and teacher I totally identified with Anne Shirley. I was lucky enough to have a few friends as true as Diana, who were willing to along with the fantasy games I invented on the playground, join me in drawing magic-marker tattoos, or write articles for my first online 'zines.

Buffy and Willow - I love the moment in the first episode of BTVS where Buffy, by benefit of being pretty, well-dressed, and from L.A., clearly has the option of joining the clique of cool girls led by Cordelia, but instead chooses to ally herself with the girl they bully - nerdy Willow Rosenberg. It's such a great way to establish Buffy's character from the get-go, and Willow goes from being meek and reserved to being fierce and powerful over the course of the series. They are friends who build each other up, give each other great advice, and try to help each other have normal high school and college experiences while fighting evil and averting the apocalypse year after year.

Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins - This friendship reminds me of my "work wife" and I, because I am constantly reminding her that she is a magnificent land mermaid and trying to see the bright side in everything while she reins me in and helps me stay practical. I loved how these two always served as each others' biggest cheerleaders.

Penny, Bernadette, and Amy - A lot of self-proclaimed geeks really don't like The Big Bang Theory, but Mr. Q and I watch it every week and enjoy the geeky references. I think the show has gotten 100% better with the introduction of Bernadette and Amy to the cast. I love the dynamics of this girl gang - Penny the cool girl who occasionally does geeky things like become a WoW addict, Bernadette the tough cookie in retro dresses, and Amy who is trying to navigate having real friends for probably the first time in her life. I like how they all get to be the most capable girl in the room at some point depending on the situation.

Jessica Jones and Trish Walker - My favorite thing about Jessica Jones was that it was one of the realest depictions of having a best friend I'd ever seen on screen - that one friend you truly love and want to protect and do anything for. While making this list, I've realized just how few awesome female friendships there are in my favorite books, television shows, and movies - in fact, many of them probably wouldn't even pass the Bechdel Test. Mr. Q assumed Trish really was Jessica's sister the first time we meet her on the show because their interactions with each other were so familial. 

What are your favorite fictional womances?