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yumcupcakes1

 

I literally stumbled upon Yum! Cupcakes today while I was out running some errands & I knew I had to stop in for a cupcake. I mean, how can you pass up such an adorable looking place? So, in the summer spirit of exploring new places, I promptly turned my car around, parked, & went inside.

yumcupcakes

I am so glad that I did! I was a little too shy to take any pictures inside, but it was such a cute place. The friendly woman at the counter explained all the different flavors, but I already eyed out my perfect cupcake. It was one of their special flavors for the day-- a Red Velvet Cupcake with a candy raspberry lovingly placed on top. UM. YES, PLEASE. The woman told me that, if I wasn't going to eat it right away, I should refrigerate it. I smiled & said okay. Little did she know, it wouldn't even make it out of their parking lot! Unfortunately, it looks a little messy in the picture above because I accidentally flipped the box upside down before opening it. Silly me. But, let me assure you, it was still absolutely DELICIOUS. Check out their website for all their delightful creations. It's definitely worth of stop if you're in the Cincinnati area! They're also only $2 which (although I'm no cupcake expect) I think is pretty fairly priced.

When was the last time you were surprised by a hidden gem in your own city? Isn't is just the best?

Yum! Gourmet Cupcakes and More on Urbanspoon

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My Summer Style 2012

 

I have been wearing basically an alternating version of this outfit all summer. Stripe t-shirts & tank tops have always been a staple of my wardrobe. I just can't get enough! A pair of basic flat sandals, my favorite tote bag, & a cute necklace seem to polish off any outfit! I'm also loving all the colorful shorts there are this season. I've never been one to be afraid of color. I'm glad everyone else is finally catching on!  What is your summer uniform?

Joie striped shirt
$97 - joie.com

Dorothy Perkins chino shorts
$29 - dorothyperkins.com

H&M leather sandals
£7.99 - hm.com

Stella Dot chain jewelry
$59 - stelladot.com

Ray-Ban ray ban shades
$140 - smartbuyglasses.com

The Secret Garden
$16 - modcloth.com

Ampersand Natural
$19 - alphabetbags.com

 

Before I begin, I just want you to know that I am the opposite of crafty. So, when I saw this tutorial for how to make a a workout shirt (with no sewing involved!) on Rabbit Food for my Bunny Teeth's blog, I didn't think I'd be able to do it! But, I DID it! I wish I would have taken a before picture of the t-shirt. It was just some old t-shirt that I never wore. I didn't want to start with a nice t-shirt in case I messed up royally. But, it turned out so cute! I plan on going to the thrift store to find some cheap t-shirts & do it to several more in the future. It's perfect for working out. All I have to say is that if I can do this, any of you can! Below is the t-shirt from Rabbit Food for My Bunny Teeth's blog. She has step-by-step directions that make it really easy. If you try it, let me know how it works out!

(Above image & tutorial via Rabbit Food for My Bunny Teeth.)

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The coveted summer break is upon us! For teachers across the country, this time of the year is better than Christmas. Honestly, when I was in school, I had no idea that my teachers were as excited about summer break as I was. Now, I'm faced with almost two months to do whatever I please! It's absolutely an amazing perk of the job. Last year, I signed up to teach summer school. This year, I decided to really treat myself & not get a summer job. Certainly, my pocketbook is a little upset; however, I think my mental health will thank me ten times over! Now, what should I do with all this luxurious  freedom? It's sort of a double-edged sword. I have all this free time to travel & experience new things, BUT I also still have a teacher's salary to work with. Oh, the irony!

With that being said, here are a few (simple) plans I have for myself over the summer:

  • Spending more time with the cutie above! My nephew, Elijah, is getting bigger & bigger every day. I babysat him for the first time a few weeks ago & I realized what an exhausting thing it is to be a mother. I gained so much respect for my amazing sister & mothers everywhere.  don't know how you do it, but you have my eternal admiration!
  • Reconnecting with friends & family. I admit, I've been a bad friend. During the school year, I get tunnel vision. It's hard, as a teacher, to find that balance between my work & my personal life. This summer, I hope to reconnect with my friends/family & beg them to forgiv my hermit tendencies.
  • Step up my work out routine. Yeeeah. So, I haven't exactly been running every day like I said I would. I really need to use these months to get fit & focus on developing a routine that I can continue to follow once school starts again. Perhaps I will make a post (or two or three) in regards to my steps to really get healthy? We shall see!
  • Read voraciously! I'm already on it! I just finished reading Veronica Roth's Divergent. It's another dystopian young adult three-book series (The Hunger Games, anyone?). I was skeptical, I admit. It didn't draw me in quite as much as The Hunger Games did. However, I'm frantically trying to get my hands on the second book. So, that's a good sign! Recommend books to me, please!
  • Ride a bike (with confidence). This is embarrassing to admit, but I've actually always been mildly afraid of riding a bike. When I was a kid, it took me a bit longer than my other friends to learn how to ride a bike without training wheels. It's shameful to be the last of your friends to still have the training wheels on their bike, right? Since then, I've always been slightly apprehensive on those two wheels. This summer, I want to buy a bike & master riding it around my beautiful city!
  • Swim, swim, swim, swim, swim! I think I'm buying a pass to Coney Island. Their Sunlite pool is calling my name! Plus, I'll get to wear my cute, new swimsuit! Win!

 

Those are just some of the things I plan on doing with my time! Certainly, I will be sharing all my other spontaneous adventures with you as they happen. If you had a couple months to do whatever you pleased (on a budget!), what are some things you'd have on your to-do list? Please share!

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One topic I've never really discussed on this blog is my life as an English teacher. Mostly because I'm afraid to say much  because teachers have to make sure to keep private & personal lives separate. However, I've gotten a few questions about what it's like to be a teacher, so I thought I'd touch on it a little bit. After all, it is a huge part of my life & who I have become over the past two & a half years.

I teach high school English to 10th, 11th, & 12th graders at a local charter school. Teaching is both an exhausting & exhilarating career choice. Those of you teachers out there know exactly what I'm talking about. Every day is different than the one before which I LOVE.  However, it's not glamorous nor is it easy. Yes, we get summers off but we fully make up for that with the amount of "over time" we put in planning, grading, & simply worrying about our students after school hours & over the weekend. I love my life & my students, but there are many days where I just want throw my hands up in the air & give up. As a young teacher, I especially feel that teaching must be a passion of yours. There's some insane statistic that shows the percentage of new teachers that quit within the first five years is staggering. I don't find that difficult to believe. It's an emotional roller coaster that has caused me to put my head on my desk crying on multiple occasions. The truth of the matter: it's really freaking hard being a teacher.

I come from a family of teachers. My mother was actually my elementary school principal growing up (you guessed it-- I never got sent to the principal's office). My sister is a second grade teacher. As a teenager & up until graduation, I wanted nothing to do with teaching. However, after dabbling with a more creative major (photography), I realized it was no use fighting what fate had clearly already set before me. Now, I can't imagine doing anything else. It's one of the most fulfilling professions.

The students are the best part. They are the reason teachers stay. I'm not going to lie, I've come close to quitting before. However, I didn't because of my students. It's quite phenomenal how attached you can get to them. I work at a small charter school & am lucky enough to have a tight-knit group of kids that I get to really connect with. They are so freaking cool. I am continuously blown away by just how amazing they are. They've taught me so many things!

I know I'm leaving out so many things I want to say on this topic, but I will step off my proverbial soapbox & hope that I haven't scared too many of you away!  Don't worry. I don't plan on making this a teacher blog or anything from now on. I just wanted to share a  slice of my life that I've been keeping to myself for a while now on this blog. Also, please let me know if any of you have any other questions about teacher. I'd love to talk with you about this topic!

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Yes, it's me. Is there anyone out there still ? Who knows. I'll give it a go anyways!

I've come to a (not-so-shocking) realization. I've realized that I don't update my blog because I'm lazy nor is it because of a lack of things to share. I don't blog because I have one of the shortest attention spans of anyone that I know. If you could just listen to my inner monologue for a few minutes, you'd quickly realize what I'm talking about. Here's a sample for you:

"I can't wait for the Hunger Games movie tonight! I hope it's as good as the books. I need to read more books. I need to use the Nook that Kevin got me for Christmas. I hope he doesn't think I don't like it. I hope we can get good seats at the theater. I wonder if I should wear shorts or pants. I need more shorts for summer. I can't wait for summer. I want to go on a cruise or something!"

That it is all to say, I finally GET why I'm not an A+ blogger! And, you know what? That's okay! I'm going to do the best I can & if people what to listen to me, let them. If not, that's alright too! So, this past week was my Spring Break! Another time I remember one of the awesome perks of being a teacher (apart from the whole preparing the nation for its future leaders -- blah blah blah). I have been very productive over my break. I did ALL my laundry which is pretty much something that should go into the history books. I've done a lot of spring cleaning, patio gardening planning, & also just straight up chilling. Here are some pictures to prove I'm alive & well!

I bought a new dress! Please excuse the blurriness. My boyfriend has shaky camera hands.

I'm taking a pottery class at a local art center with some teacher friends.
This is my first batch of completely finished & glazed pots. I'm (more than a little) proud of myself.

We got a new patio set for the balcony. It's so stinkin' cute. I also have plans to make a pallet garden. I've already "rescued" a pallet from the back parking lot of my local grocery store.

 

Stumbling upon murals & small parks such as this one around my city is the exact reason why I love where I love so much! People may talk crap about Cincinnati, but there are so many hidden gems if you are willing to do a little exploring!

To those of you readers who can stomach my spastic blogging, you get mad props from me! Enjoy your Saturday!

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Ah, yes! It's the beginning of a new year which means everyone is feeling all shiny & happy & we all have the highest of hopes for the months to come. And, what's wrong with that!? As cheesy & over-used as it may seem, it's so wonderful to be able to metaphorically start fresh every year. Kevin & I went to the grocery story & stocked up on healthy snacks for me (that being part of one of my "resolutions"). Our cart was filled mostly with fresh fruits & veggies. It was intriguing to see how low in stock the store was on fresh produce. I'd be interested to find out if that has any correlation to all the people & their New Year resolutions. I would put money on the answer being yes!

That being said, I'm keeping my resolutions small & simple this year. I know I'm a couple days late, but here are my resolutions for 2012 (in no order):

  1. Drink more water. I've already begun this one, but I want to keep it going. I like to freeze lemon slices & plop them into ice water. There's really few things that are more refreshing! We all know how important our water intake is, so this resolution needs little explanation.
  2. Cook more! I've actually already started this one as well (I'm on a roll!). I made a delicious homemade soup a few days before Christmas. It was GOOD if I say so myself. And, even better the second day! I'm so spoiled because my boyfriend is such an amazing cook. But, I feel like 2012 is the year for me to step my game up. My sister also got me an adorable apron for Christmas that needs some serious breaking in! Oh, and I want to not only cook more, but cook healthier as well.
  3. Be kinder to myself. I seriously, seriously, seriously need to cut myself a break! I am determined to stop being so hard on myself & do little things to pamper myself. More massages . More manicures. More bubble baths. More time to unwind & not feel guilty about it. Less worrying about what others think of me. Less being my own worse critic. It's time for me to learn how to really love myself.
  4. Shower those that I love with appreciation & adoration. This one is self-explanatory as well. I have some really amazing friends & family in my life. I am determined to be more selfless & show them how much they truly mean to me.
  5. Work out or shut up! I am constantly whining about my weight & how out of shape I am...as I shove chips into my face & watch my third episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey. So, I either need to get off the couch or stop bitching about my physical appearance to everyone. It's annoying me, so I can only imagine how annoying it is to others! I plan on really working out this year! I'm still researching gym memberships, but I'm also considering actually purchasing a tread mill. That way, I'll have no excuses!

Well, there you have it! Here's to an amazing New Year with endless possibilities!

Here is a little round-up of inspiring pictures with a little holiday twist!

(Clockwise from top-left: 1|2|3|4)

I love, love, love it when people get creative with their holiday decorating. I especially love when they veer away from the "classic" bright red/green combo & put their own creative twist on it.

(Clockwise from top-left: 1|2|3|4)

Twinkle lights never, ever fail to put me in the holiday spirit! My apartment is currently decked out with enough twinkle lights to make it feel like daytime in the middle of the night. And, that's just the way I like it!

(Clockwise from top-left: 1|2|3|4)

Not only is there no snow in my neck of the woods, it's unseasonable warm (60 degrees on December 21st!?). So, at the moment, I'm forced to look wistfully at these beautiful winter wonderland photographs & hope for my own taste of it before the end of winter.

What gets you into the holiday spirit?