Babysitting a Bearded Dragon :)

We start STAAR testing next week (grades 3-5), so all of the upper level teachers emailed us and asked for volunteers to watch their classroom pets over the weekend and for next week. They had a hedgehog, a bearded dragon, some turtles, and insects like hissing cockroaches… I signed up as fast as I could for the first 3 categories! And I got the dragon šŸ™‚ His name is Dundee!…Get it? šŸ™‚

I’ve never had a reptile as a pet but he sounded really cool. Ricardo came up to school to help me carry him to my classroom and get him set up for the weekend. They fed him a mouse fetus and some crickets before we came and got him. I know! So gross. But he seems like a cuddly dude. I picked him up and he just crawled up my arm and laid there. I kind of want one now! but I don’t know if I could ever get use to his diet. They said they have to keep the mice fetuses frozen and you have to take them out awhile before to let them thaw before you give them to him. Yuck!

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Ricardo and Dundee šŸ™‚Ā IMG_3892

He smiles!

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The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

Most reviewers of this book have compared it toĀ Harry Potter. I mean, I guess? Are we comparing all book where kids go off to wizarding school to Harry’s tale? Or maybe it’s because the main character is a boy with a physical flaw… But don’t most heroes have some sort of flaw? Oh! Or maybe it’s because the main characters are two boys and a girl. But seriously guys, are preteen boys (which is who this book is probably targeted to, as well as preteen or young adult girls) really going to read a book about two girls and their guy friend? Probably not. Preteen boys are still halfway on the fence about whether girls have cooties or not. Not to mention their guy friends would probably say something about reading a “girly” book.

There are some Potter-esque characteristics I suppose but then we might as well putĀ Charlie Bone, Percy Jackson, The Kane Chronicles, Artemis Fowl, Sabriel, and Ranger’s ApprenticeĀ in that category. I mostly don’t want to compare it toĀ Harry PotterĀ because you can’t really compare any book toĀ Harry PotterĀ in my opinion. There will ever only be one. I likedĀ The Iron TrialĀ but not as much asĀ Harry Potter.

I really liked the middle and the ending of this book. The beginning was a little meh :/ though. I think they jumped into a little bit and I don’t think they knew where they were going at first. The first chapter was pretty okay but their introduction of the main character, Callum Hunt wasn’t so great. He was boring. Even at his tryouts for the Magisterium. I kept hoping for a flicker of something interesting but it wasn’t there. I had to wait about 50 pages in to start liking him and the only reason I did was because of the other characters. I think my favorite character is the girl Tamara. I like how she’s a pleaser but she’s not going to put up with other peoples crap either. I’m still trying to decide about Aaron. His character reminds me of Murtagh from Eragon, basically a good guy but sprinkled with a little tortured soul. I’m also not sure about the chaos-ridden yet either. The whole pinwheel, spinning eyes thing throws me for a loop.

I feel like this book doesn’t feel very Cassandra Clare-like and I think that’s what I was hoping for. If you have never readĀ The Mortal Instruments you may end up loving it, just don’t go into it with those kinds of expectations. It came off more of a Holly Black book to me, but she seems like more of a middle grade author than Cassandra Clare does. I read herĀ Modern Faerie TalesĀ books back in the day, but I don’t think I ever read the last book. I just wasn’t a fan of her characters, and the dialogue in her books. There didn’t seem to be a lot character building in it. That’s just my opinion though. I know lots of people who love her books.

Juggling It All

The hardest thing in my life right now is juggling all of the different responsibilities I have and to also have a second or two to myself once in awhile. I can’t imagine how people with kids balance it all! I have a fiance and a ferret and I still feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will all get a little easier once the wedding is over. Weddings are so expensive. We thought we could worm our way out of some expenses but even with the bare minimum the wedding is costing several thousand dollars. The big day is 2 months away (almost to the day) so most of my paychecks are going to last minute, overlooked details.

Then there’s my job. I started my first teaching job in January. It feels like a routine now, and I really like that but teaching is a hard profession. You never work 40 hours a week. I usually get there about an hour early everyday (at 6:40am) so that I don’t have to stay super later. I like to cook so I try to get home early enough that I can cook dinner for Ricardo for when he gets off work that night.

I’ve also been trying to squeeze in workouts every chance I get after school on days that I don’t have tutoring or level meetings. I’ve been going pretty consistently the past week. I even went to the gym twice last Saturday! It’s crunch time with the wedding right around the corner. I love how the weather is finally warming up so Ricardo and I can go run together when he’s off. To help with my diet I’ve been keeping track of what I eat on MyFitnessPal. I hope it helps. I would like to lose around 10 lbs before the wedding. Especially since we’re going to California for the honeymoon! I’ll have to put on a bathing suit eventually.

I’ve had some unexpected stuff come up within the past week and a half as well. My car keeps jerking when I drive and none of the shops we’ve taken it to know what it is! They told me to “google it”. -_______- Are you kidding!? Isn’t that your job? Even if I did figure out what it was on my own it’s not like I’m amazing at handling anything having to do with cars. I can change a tire…. with help. That’s as far as my expertise goes.

My grandmother was also diagnosed with three different type of cancer last week. I think the stress of that has been the worst part. I’ve lost great grandparents and great uncles in my life but it was never so close, like a parent or a grandparent. It freaked me out when I found out. I never thought about it happening to them. I thought they would always be around. And it’s probably selfish of me but I keep fixating on my wedding and what if they can’t be there? I wouldn’t be mad but I would definitely be bummed and wish that they could. She had surgery at the end of last week and she’s supposed to go home later today. She can’t start chemo for a month until she heals from the surgery completely. Chemo… hearing that she had to have chemo made it sink it. I’ve only ever heard about chemo in movies and tv shows. I haven’t actually had anyone close to me go through that. I really hope she’s going to be okay. And I wish more than anything I could just take away how scared she’s probably feeling. She’s a tough woman and would never let you know she’s scared but how could you not be after news like that? My dads a wreck too. He’s always been a momma’s boy and I think he’s taking it harder than anyone.

In a way, I guess all of the distractions from work, going to the gym, and the wedding have helped keep me from having breakdowns over and over. It’s keeping my mind busy. I really can’t wait to have a whole paycheck to do with as I please though! If I have to buy one more cake topper, sign in books, garter, or anything to do with catering I’m going to scream! Why can’t we just have a bbq and call it a day! I keep reminding myself to breathe. Just breathe. One thing at a time. And sometimes that’s the hardest part… figuring out which thing should be taken care of first.

Nerdin’ Out Pen Pals

Oh my gosh. Have you heard about the subscription boxes like the Bookworm Box, Uppercase, or OwlCrate? I’ve been researching them off and on all day. The most interesting of them all, in my opinion would be the Bookworm Box. It looks like it started off as the brainchild of author Colleen Hoover, and you can donate some to charity as well. I can’t really determine the price of them, I think they only release that information to those lucky enough to make the sign up list for them. And from what I’m reading and hearing from friends the sell out FAST. Like within minutes.

After finding out about these I started looking around on Instagram at their tagged pictures, and I stumbled across several people talking about how they are pen pals with other book nerds and they send each stuff every month. It seems like most of them try to find a buddy from a different country so that they can send each other little knick-knacks from each others countries. Some of the goodies I have seen are make-up from other countries, books with different covers, or snacks.

My question is, has anyone on here done that? Is it safe? And if you have done it before, where have did you meet your buddy? I think it sounds really cool!

Blog and Vlog Genres

I started this blog off as a book blog. I love reading and I love watching book gurus do reviews on Youtube. I thought every blog had one genre. I think that’s how the blogging world started off, and maybe it’s important to start off that way in order to gain an audience. I realized that books and reading were not the only thing I had to talk about though. I started working on my career path in 2014 and it felt important to share with other people, not to share what I know about it but to share my experiences. It’s nice to share your feelings about things with people who have similar interests. It makes it all feel a little less overwhelming to know you’re not doing it by yourself. Since then my blog has been about Literature, book reviews, book-to-film adaptions, teaching, family, and my life as a “20 something”. I thought I would have followers pouring in to read my book reviews, but I’ve noticed that readers are more interested in the post about life, mostly the ups and downs. Blogging must be really popular among people in their 20’s or people in college. I seem to have the most views when I write about the awkwardness of being in your 20’s and about the struggle to be successful. I’m glad I tested the water beyond books, I feel like I have more to say and that other people like reading about it.

I remember when Taralynn McNitt of Undressed Skeleton wrote only about fitness and weight loss. I would read her blog every morning to stay inspired to eat healthy and work out. She does all kinds of stuff now! She has posts about fitness, healthy recipes, travel, city adventures, her relationships, her new clothing line, advice, etc. I think it’s good to spice things up a bit to keep readers interested. Sometimes I don’t want to read about travel so I’ll scroll over to her recipes or her advice posts.

The more I read blogs and watch Youtubers these days though, I notice that they are branching out. Ingrid Nilsen doesn’t just blog about beauty anymore. Her channel used to be nothing but make-up hauls and beauty routines. In 2014 I noticed she was doing more DIY, cooking, and lifestyle blogging. The same with Tanya Burr and Zoe Sugg. Zoe and Tanya both recently released books and so they have several videos on the writing of their books and about the publishing process.

Also, with book bloggers, and booktubers I’ve noticed an increase on film coverage. They do videos of their first impressions of book-to-film movie trailers, they create their own book trailers, and they do coverage of their meet-ups with fellow booktubers and author meet-ups.

I have to say my involvement in the blogging world has increased greatly within the last year. I liked Tanya Burr and Ingrid Nilsen but I would get bored of the beauty videos. I wanted MORE! I wanted differentiation. Ingrid does this new #5MFU channel tag, and it’s basically her stream of consciousness as she vlogs. One week she will talk about her travels between New York and California, to how she feels about success, to how writing plays a huge role in her life… I love it! I don’t have to hear the same thing all week. I wish more blogger/vloggers would change things up a bit.

If you’re a blogger I don’t think you should limit yourself to one genre. You have plenty to say and there are always other people out there who have similar interests as you! Who knows? Maybe you’re someones morning ritual read like Taralynn was mine.

College vs The Real World

I heard a song today that reminded me of college. (Gimme that GirlĀ by Joe Nichols) I use to go to Cowboys Dancehall in San Antonio with my roommate and friends and we would meet all kinds of folks there, college kids from San Antonio, girls having bachelorette parties, and tons of guys from the base in San Antonio. I remember dancing toĀ Gimme that GirlĀ almost every night we were there. It was still fairly new.

Hearing that song made me feel very nostalgic. I realized how much I love going dancing, meeting my friends at Alkek Library with Starbucks late at night to study, walking up and down all the hills at Texas State University, and writing a million and one papers at the Einstein Bagels on campus. I miss how easy everything was, even though it didn’t feel like it at the time. Being an English major meant writing 3-4 papers every week and reading tons of books at once. It was stressful. But it was a different kind of stressful. I didn’t know the true meaning of stress until I was out on my own after I graduated.

Sure, I worked in college. My first year in college I was working 3 part time jobs and going to school full time in Tyler. Then I moved to San Marcos and didn’t work until my junior year of college. My best friend got me a job at the frozen yogurt shop she worked at in teeny little Kyle, Texas. It was an easy job and it was perfect for college. I could take my work and study during my shifts when it was slow. I thought it sucked and that it was boring at the time. Grown ups really know what they’re talking about when they say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone! And when they say youngins don’t appreciate things. But I appreciate them now.

The real world was hard on me at first. It was probably because I was expecting to graduate college and for an amazing awesome job to just fall into my lap. I thoughtĀ Well hey! I have a degree so book publishing companies are going to come banging on my door looking for an English major!Ā Ha! I’m laughing right along with you.

I moved back to the Dallas area with Ricardo several months after I graduated college and started working for my moms best friend at her pediatric speech, physical, occupational, and feeding therapy clinic. She was kind enough to start me off as Authorizations Manager (Insurance authorizations that is). And let me tell you! I have never fallen so hard on my ass before. Insurance is a beating of it’s own kind. People are not nice to you if you are handling any kind of insurance. I lasted there 3 months, and it was hell for me. I cried every day, on my lunch break, to my family, to Ricardo, on my home from work every day… It was bad. I had never been so miserable in my life. I just felt like I wasn’t doing what I was suppose to be doing and that I wasn’t doing a good job either.

After that I had several part-time jobs until I finally came to the decision to go back to school and get my alternative teaching certification. Best decision I ever made! It was a long road but I made it. Through that chapter of my life I nannied for a family friend and it was a nice experience. I watched 2 little girls over the summer, one was 3 and one was 8 months. I still think about them a lot just because I spent so much time with them.

But not all of it was great. I wrecked the car I had had since I started driving (My brakes went out on the highway). I was not planning on getting a new car until I was more stable. Financially it was rough for awhile. Ricardo and I had also gotten pregnant but I had a blighted ovum. (When the baby, for unknown reasons, stops developing early on in the pregnancy) I was so depressed for several months. How does someone at 22 years of age lose a baby? I kept thinking I did something wrong or that something was wrong with me. At first they thought it might have been a high risk pregnancy but they couldn’t find a fetus anywhere. My body was staying pregnant and for some reason it wasn’t miscarrying like it was suppose to so I had to have surgery to avoid infection. It took me a long time to come to terms with the outcome of the situation. It still makes me very sad and scared when I think of it sometimes.

I had to learn to look at like God has a plan. And maybe this was a second chance to do things in the right order. Ricardo and I got engaged 4 months later. We had been talking about marriage since we were in high school practically, this just made it feel more right I guess. We both knew what we wanted and decided to seal the deal.

That’s one of the best things that happened to me in 2014. I was asked by my best friend to spend the rest of my life with him šŸ™‚ This made all the pain and hurt of the year seem a bit smaller in perspective.

My point is, college was awesome. All that lack of responsibility, the naps after class, the easy life was nice. I loved it! And I’m glad I got to live it for awhile. But the real world is turning out great too despite the bigger burdens. I get to be with my best friend everyday, I get to start planning ahead, I’ve found my career path and I feel confident in it, I love love love my job and all the people I work with, my family has begun to piece back together after years of conflict, I get to see them more often now that I’m back in Dallas, and I just feel blessed. I feel thankful for the way life has turned out. I feel thankful for the good experiences I’ve had and I think I’ve learned a lot from the not so great experiences. The older I get the more I realize it’s important to reflect. I like taking time every so often just to count my blessings. It makes life much more pleasant than focusing on the bad. That has been a long, hard lesson for me to learn but I’m getting there. Being in your 20’s is hard enough anyway. It’s like being a pre-teen almost. You’re between being a college party animal and being a successful, independent adult.

Interview by Flowers and Wanderlust

A fellow blogging friend interviewed me for her site and posted it today! It was such a fun experience! I don’t think I’ve ever been interviewed for an article before. One more thing to mark off my Bucket List thanks to Miss Sami! šŸ™‚ Sami is an adventurous blogger who shares her Bucket List experiences and interviews other bloggers and helps share their stories. She has the most exciting blog out there!

You can find the interview here:

http://flowersandwanderlust.com/?p=8524

Thanks Sami!

My Spring Break So Far

the iron trial

For Spring Break I haven’t gone to Padre, Florida, or Galveston, or any super fun beach for that matter. And for the first time ever, I am perfectly fine with that. Up until this year I have wanted to go somewhere fun or go party and have lots of plans with my friends. Don’t get me wrong… I do have some good times planned with my friends this week but we all decided to stay in Dallas for the most part. One of my best friends just started teaching in January like I did, one has a big girl job and has to work through Spring Break, and the other one is in Law school at SMU and is writing 50 million papers over her break. Needless to say, we are all happy to just have some down time. All I have been doing so far is reading and hanging out with Ricardo and my ferret Hermes at home. Ricardo has tried to teach me to paint and shade, I made homemade lasagna for the first time ever yesterday, we went out for my moms birthday and my grandparents anniversary today, and I’ve just been waking up every morning and watching House Hunters International until I decide to put grown up clothes on for the day. It’s been relaxing. I still have a stack of papers I need to grade but hey! I have the rest of this week to worry about that.

lasagna

My first ever lasagna! I’m so proud of myself! I’ve always wanted to make it! Ricardo really liked it too šŸ™‚ The recipe I used was super easy too. I found it on the Kraft website. It’s under Simply Lasagna.

sunflower painting

Here’s my painting. It’s not the best but Ricardo was proud of me. He’s a much better painter than I am. He’s always been creatively inclined, where I haven’t been. He had fun showing me how to mix the colors and how to shade šŸ™‚ You learn something new every day!

hastings

And lastly, I caved and bought some more books today at Hastings. I told myself I was going to stop buying books and finish the ones I have first but Hastings had a 30% off all of their Young Adult section so I had to! Ricardo got some anime books and some movies too. I have to give myself a limit when I go in there or I will buy a million books! I usually don’t read contemporary books, but I’ve heard nothing but great things aboutĀ Anna and the French KissĀ by Stephanie Perkins. Instagramers and booktubers are always raving about the trilogy (I think it’s a trilogy, right?). And I’m always intrigued by the cover ofĀ These Broken StarsĀ by Amie Kaufman. I haven’t bought it until now because I’m not the biggest sci-fi fan. I decided to try it out since I recently readĀ The 5th WaveĀ books by Rick Yancey and loved them! They’re technically not in space but they are about aliens, so why not!

Tomorrow I’m going with my maid of honor to get our dresses hemmed. I’m really nervous about putting my wedding dress on again. It always makes me anxious!

Spring Break is Finally Here!

Woooo-Hoo! my last (hopefully) certification test is over! My Spring Break didn’t start until I stepped out of the testing center today. If I passed, I will be certified to teach Early Childhood to 8th grade. I also had to take an ESL certification back in December too. I am to the point where I am tired of being in school and having to take tests. It’s Ricardo’s turn! He needs to finish up school and then maybe I will think about going back for my Masters.

As for my Spring Break plans I plan on:

1) Spending some time with Ricardo. He’s off quite a bit this week too. He got off work early yesterday so we went and bought a bunch of canvas and paints and he taught me how to paint and shade and whatnot. I was scared to try it at first, in fear of looking really stupid. I don’t have a lot of patience so doing things like painting where you have to be patient and precise are not my forte.

2) Eating with my family. One day this week I am going out with my moms family in East Texas to celebrate her birthday and my grandparents wedding anniversary. I think it’s going to be their 44th wedding anniversary. I’ll have to double check with my grandmother though. I usually try to get them different, unique things because they get tired of receiving pictures and knick-knacks. One year I emailed Mark Cuban (my grandmother is a die hard Mavericks fan) and asked if he could send me a congratulations email back with their names on it. And he did! He also sent my grandmother free tickets one year! So nice. I don’t care if all you haters are hating right now, I love Mark Cuban. I’d post what i got my mom but I never know if she reads my posts šŸ˜›

I’m also going out for my dads birthday on Saturday. And we’re trying this place out to see if we want to host our rehearsal dinner there. It’s on a lake so it should be pretty!

3) Workout. Look at all the eating I’m going to be doing! And me and Ricardo are making homemade lasagna today! I have to squeeze in workout time. We’ve worked out 3 days in a row so far, which is pretty good considering how gross the weather has been the past week.

4) Later this week I am getting my wedding dress hemmed with my bridesmaids šŸ™‚ They’re getting their dresses done too. One less thing I have to do! After I get my dress back I can schedule my bridal portraits with my hair/makeup lady and my photographer.

5) I also need to squeeze in time to grade all the papers I brought home with me as well. Blaaaaaah. Boring. So far I have about 1/3 of it done. I’ve been doing it as we binge watch season 3 of House of Cards on Netflix. (Which is much better than the last season!) I also want to start the new Netflix original show that just came out with Erin fromĀ The Office in it. My friends say it’s hilarious!

6) Other than all that busy body stuff I plan on getting some reading in. I startedĀ Dragonfly in AmberĀ a few days ago. I’m really liking it so far! And I want to make sure I’m ahead of the show beforeĀ OutlanderĀ starts back up. I’m thinking about starting another book as well. I just haven’t decided on which yet.

I hope you all who have a Spring Break have a good one! And those of you who don’t I hope you have a great week! šŸ™‚ I’ll have pictures later of the paintings and of the homemade lasagna. (It’s my first time making it!)

Cress by Marissa Meyer

I could not have loved this book more! I loved Cinder, but I wasn’t too crazy aboutĀ Scarlet. I’m not a huge fan of Scarlet or Wolf actually.Ā I love Cinder because she is independent and witty. She doesn’t technicallyĀ needĀ anyone. She’s survived without Iko, Peony, and Kai on different occasions and she always finds a way to pull through whatever situation is thrown at her. I really like Cress’ character as well. She’s quirky. I love how socially awkward she is from being stuck on a tiny satellite for most of her life. And I love her with Thorne! They are two peas in a pod. Two very different, random peas but they go together. Scarlet on the other hand always seemed so needy to me. Her and Wolf threw themselves at each other and it was like Bella Swan and Edward Cullen’s relationship (in the movie not the book). Overly cheesy, a little uncomfortable, and too much angsty drama.

I was hesitant about going on to Cress because I was afraid I wouldn’t like her character. But the book is action packed, witty, and suspenseful! I had already guessed about Dr. Erland and Cress but I love the way it played it out. I liked how Meyer didn’t give a happy ending to everyone in the story. It made the story more believable. Although it did tear my heart into a million pieces… I thought she did really well tying all of the stories together in this novel as well. And how she Scarlet wasn’t in it too much… I know that’s horrible to say but I liked that.

However, I did love the last scene with Scarlet and Winter. She is going to make an excellent addition to this series. She’s also quirky (or crazy!) like Cress but has a big heart and seems fearless like Cinder. I can’t wait to read the next installment! I have to know what happens with Cinder and Winter! Will it be a battle between the two? Will Cinder give Winter Luna and move back to New Beijing with Emperor Kai??? I have to know!

I also really want Thorne to get his eyesight back šŸ˜¦ He’s been so brave throughout this tragic turn of events for himself. I think they are humbling him though. Cress is probably helping too. I think they ground each other. She’s a little less head in the clouds, and he’s less in love with himself.

I did buy Fairest at Barnes and Noble awhile back when I purchasedĀ Cress.Ā I haven’t read it yet though. I usually take breaks between book series just so that I can enjoy them longer and so that I don’t become burnt out on a series. I am currently readingĀ Dragonfly in AmberĀ by Diana Gabaldon but I will probably read another book along with it since it’s huge and has microscopic print in it.Ā OutlanderĀ took me forever to read but it was well worth it.

Anywho, I definitely recommendĀ CressĀ to those who have read the series. I’m not sure if everyone else felt the same as I did aboutĀ ScarletĀ but it’s worth pushing yourself through it to get to the action inĀ Cress, and to see all of the stories come together.Cress