Friday, December 26, 2014

My 2015 Fortune Cookie

 I'm really horrible at setting and keeping New Year's Resolutions. I just can't do it. So this year instead of starting myself off with what will ultimately lead to failure, I'm going to make some predictions instead. If I get them right...Great! If I get them wrong...Great! I'm sure something better came along.


2014 Review:

Favorite Movie: Pacific Rim

Favorite Book: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Favorite Piece of Music: Gustav Holst Second Suite in F - Movement Four: Fantasia on a Dargason

Favorite New Food: Halloumi Cheese

Favorite Place: West Hampstead, London

Favorite Smell: "It's Raining Men" shower gel from Lush Cosmetics

Favorite Memory: Honestly... It's a toss up between seeing Pentatonix as a VIP with two of my very best friends, and every moment from my two weeks in London. Even the crap parts like getting hit on by a sketchy Parisian. I'm so glad I conquered my fears and went for it.

Biggest Regret: Wrecking my Jeep, because I was stupid and thought I could drive on ice.

2015 Predictions:

I will finish my first full year of teaching. I will be exhausted and constantly on the verge of tears, but I will be done.

I'll have/be in the process of getting my first home on my own.

I will spend the summer going to places I've never been before. (My first summer without a job.)

I will stop being the type of person that takes out my job frustrations on other people. I will love my job even when I hate it.

I will get a puppy.

I will work on meeting a Male Friend this year. (Did you catch my Sex and the City reference?)

What are your plans for the new year?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Memories

I genuinely love this time of year. Not only is it a very needed break from reality, but it's time I get to spend with family. This year is the first in a long while that we will be celebrating right here at home. You can tell our excitement by the pure number of presents under the tree. Normally we could only get what would fit in the car with us. 

Below are pictures from a walk around my Christmas memories.

 This little man is my favorite ornament of all time. You don't hang him off of a branch, or set him on a shelf. He was made to be put onto a Christmas light so that he can glow from within.

Why yes... that is a tea infuser disguised as a Christmas bauble. It's a random thrift store find that my dad wanted to make feel special.

 This is my baby Christmas tree that's been with me since my early days of college. Here you can see it looking up to the big tree and dreaming of a far more glamorous life.

 It's almost here!

This is only a small portion of the presents. It really is astounding. I actually believe there may be a Christmas wrapped pack of peanuts in there.

I hope your holiday is filled with warm fuzzy memories, and that you have a VERY Merry (and safe) Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Adventure

It's Christmas time in Tennessee! To get myself into the Christmas spirit I went on an adventure. The day was spent with my wonderful God-family and friends. We went to the Tennessee Aquarium and ended the day at Rock City's Enchanted Garden of Lights. I hope my video gives you some ideas for some excellent ways to get into the Christmas mood.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Why I'm Giving up Facebook in the Name of Peace

I once had a life changing conversation with a good friend of mine. It was one of those talks where I updated her on everything new that was happening, and about half way through I stopped and said, "I think the world is falling apart." Her response was so profound that I carry the thought with me everyday. She said, "You only think that because you watch the news."

It is the sole purpose of any news station to share and dramatize any and everything wrong with the world. It's their job, and we can't fault them for it.

Truth: The world is a terrible, awful, mind numbingly terrifying place.

Lie: That's just the way it is.

I can't be the only person that gets absolutely heart broken each and every time the news is on. I'm talking heart broken to the point of tears that this is happening in the world, and I can't do anything to make it better. What's more terrible is that immediately after watching the day's most gut wrenching stories, I flip over and check Facebook. And what do I find there? Engagement announcements, new cars, job celebrations, baby pictures, etc. What a bipolar world we live in.

Now, I know it's not Facebook's fault. I don't blame it on them in the least. It's my fault. Facebook is a guilty pleasure of mine. It's where I go to read mind numbing stories about pointless things that happen in daily life, and I add to it. I'm guilty of my own string of ridiculously unhelpful STUPID status updates.

So I'm making a change. This year on December 15th I'm going to deactivate my Facebook. It won't be forever, just until New Years. I'm going to use the habitual tick of checking my Facebook to remind me that I'm going to be different this year. Instead of checking in on the "First World" incessantly I'm going to do something positive.

I'm going to bring extra food to work to make sure my students who are hungry have a little something extra. I'm going to make sure that I let people know that if they need me I'm here for them. I'm going to make the world around me better than "just the way it is."

I'm also going to challenge you to do the same. You don't have to get rid of Facebook or Twitter or anything like that. Heck you don't have to give anything up if you don't want to. I challenge you to make your immediate world better than it already is. (Unless you live in Pleasantville, in which case keep up the good work.)

Go make a difference, because I'm tired of crying every time the news is on.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I Think God is Trying to Speak to Me Through my Remote

To be honest I've been a normal passenger on the Struggle-bus lately. I'm about one heart break away from collecting my first cat and naming it Nibbles. Some days are far worse than others. Yesterday was one of those days.

I had just had an incredibly long day at school and was trying to relax at home. (Home for me being... my parent's house.) When I got into an argument with my father over puppies* and decided to end the evening early. Very early, about 8pm to be exact.

Having been emotionally and physically exhausted I climbed into bed, turned on my t.v., and proceeded to fall asleep almost immediately. Before succumbing to the inevitable unconsciousness I told God that I was tired. I was feeling forgotten and tired and I needed a sign. Just a little sign that I wasn't working so hard for nothing. That He did indeed have a plan for me. Twelve hours later and we bring you to today's story.

This morning after waking up I decided to try and see if my new favorite show Sex and the City was on. There was just one problem. You can't change the t.v. without the remote.

It had been missing since the previous morning, and I looked everywhere for that thing. I searched in my blankets, under my bed, inside my recliner, the refrigerator, my parent's closet, everywhere. That's when I got my dad involved. I walked into the living room despairing over the fact that I could be missing punny narrative by Carrie Bradshaw. So he decided to help. He too looked everywhere.

After a few minutes we'd each given up and both left my room to search elsewhere, and upon returning to my room I decided to try looking inside my recliner again. As soon as I reached to move my laptop I spotted it.....the remote. It was just sitting there on the recliner arm....taunting me. I screamed for my dad asking if he had found it. When he replied with a no I asked him to come to my room immediately to confirm that I was indeed staring at my remote.

I was.

According to my father it must have been there the whole time and I'd just missed it. But when I say I looked everywhere... I. Looked. Everywhere. There's no way I would have just looked past the remote when it was in the exact place it normally is every morning.

So I get it God. You sent me my remote to tell me you have my back. I appreciate the sign. Although, now that I think about it. I can't capitalize on it because this story is undoubtedly not as exciting as a white light after a near death experience.

Still appreciate it!

*note - It was much more eventful than the argument I had with my mother over butter about a month ago. These are all signs that I need to move out ASAP.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Being Single is Hard Sometimes

Many times in my life things happen that make me say..."No one will believe this story." Today's entry is one such event.

The time my dad thought my grandmother's funeral was the perfect time to find me a boyfriend.

I'll start by saying we don't grieve like normal families. Mostly our emotions are kept in our separate corners. Crying is a sign of weakness, and grieving is done alone. You do what you can to hold it at bay until you're by yourself, and on rare occasion "doing what you can" means "finding MeHaley a boyfriend."

We're strange...I know, but you can't blame us after two days straight of viewing and our marathon seventh hour at the funeral home on that particular day. (Russian Orthodox funerals are no joke.)

My grandma was a stunningly kind woman. She was also the best cook I've ever known and towards the end of her life she was no different. My aunt always took care of her and provided any extra help she needed. My Aunt Marge has the biggest personality. She won't do anything her gut tells her not to do and anyone that meets her loves her automatically.

This story took place on the night of viewing when ALL of my Aunt's co-workers came to show their love and support. They just so happened to include my Aunt's nice looking 26 year old colleague that also makes really good money. A guy who would have made a perfectly nice catch ANY OTHER DAY OF MY LIFE.

I was just walking around mingling with these people who were there to give love and support. Meeting people who I'd met long ago when I was a baby and who remembered me, but I had no idea they existed. When suddenly I hear my father call out to me from across the room. Granted we're a pretty spirited bunch so it was pretty loud for a funeral, but it didn't matter. You could have heard him across the street...and what was he yelling? He wasn't calling me to come over...nooooo. Instead he was shouting this guy's stats across the room.  

Haley! This is Rob. *points to unsuspecting victim*

He's single!!!

Rob has a great job.

He makes a lot of money!

(kill me. kill me now.)

He was right for the most part. Rob was in fact single, with a great job and he did make a lot of money. He also talked non stop about his "best-girl-friend." He's using his big paycheck to pay off his mountains of student debt, and has the vocabulary of a state college frat boy. (Nice one dad)

Unfortunately Rob just wasn't right for me at that specific moment in time, and at the end of the evening everyone left just like they had come. They all said their goodbyes and condolences and my family retreated for the evening to prepare for what will probably always be one of the longest days of my life.

I'm glad that my parents worry about me enough to want to help me find someone to spend the rest of my life with, but their timing can be disastrously off sometimes.

Since the funeral set-up debacle we've had many conversations on proper set-up etiquette and timing.

You'll be happy to know it has gotten no better.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Right Now...

I'm Reading: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Actually I'm re-reading this one. It's not a book you'd expect for the title it has. The story is unique to say the least. It's the only book I've read from a dog's perspective. It follows the life of a young man through his career, family, and unexpected loss and it's all from his dog Enzo's perspective. It's amazingly touching and full of incredible quotes about how we as humans take for granted all of the possibilities we have in front of us.

I'm Doing: Poorly things

Yep...I'm sick again. It's a cold this time. I keep waking up in the middle of the night only to dose myself back into unconsciousness with the correct dosage of NyQuil. I'll be right as rain in time for school on Monday, but I'm using this "poorly" time to catch up on blogging!

I'm Working on: Building Credit

Currently I'm sitting on the one piece of furniture I bought for myself while watching a t.v. that my parents bought. All the while living in a warm cozy home that they also pay for. So while I'm slowly building my own credit, I'm also losing any and all independence I had from The Man. Being an adult is such a double edged sword sometimes.

I'm Watching: Criminal Minds marathon with Lord of the Rings (on commercial breaks)

I have ADD when it comes to television. To me, watching t.v. is more of a security blanket than a form of entertainment. I use it for background noise more than anything. When I actually do sit down just to watch a show I have to be doing something else simultaneously or I feel like I've just wasted valuable time and energy.

I'm Loving: The Season

I'm going all out this year. Everything I do or touch is going to be seasonally appropriate. There are pumpkins everywhere, and I'm starting to get patterns for new scarves to knit. GOSHDARNIT I'm getting into the seasons! (also...side note) Welcome back Pumpkin everything, I've missed you.

What are you doing right now?
I'm genuinely interested to see how everyone else is fairing this inevitably gloomy time of year.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

I did a THING...

I'll start this by saying that I have a problem with asserting my independence in a small town. It's less of a problem and more of an
I MUST DO IT or I'll start punching people.

This "problem" is made more difficult by the fact that I have a very traditionally binding job. I have to dress in a certain way, my hair has to fit within certain colors, and I can only say certain things.

I know I do this to myself but underneath it all I'm dying to stick out. So I am.

I went to the lady that's been cutting my hair for a long time and asked her to dye it pink. 

First she laughed, then she begged me not to, and finally she succumbed to what I wanted. This hair is a first for both of us so I was her "teaching head" and we set upon this together. The only rule was that I have to be able to hide it while teaching. So the tips are far enough down that when put it all into a covered bun I still have very respectable hair.

Welcome to my.....Hair.

It's dirty blonde on top, and strikingly pink on the ends. It's what they call ombre.

The pink is dyed over a really nice ombre dye. So once the color fades I'll still have a very pretty hair coloring.

Here are some things we can do with this style.

The ponytail.

 The curled look.

The side braid.


 I hope I was able to give you some ideas on how to be unique while still sticking to some rules. I'm totally in love with this hair. I promise to share a hidden look once I have the will to hide it.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


Let me just start by saying I hardly ever splurge for holidays.
Times are changing. 

I recently made a resolution to embrace holidays with full force. Halloween is no exception. Now that I have a classroom to decorate and captive audiences, *cough* I mean students to admire my stuff, I've become way more excited by the holidays.

Yesterday I went to Target, a magical place I hardly ever get to visit, and if you know Target you know the $1, $3, $5 dollar bins at the front of the store. Thanks to those bins here is my less than $9 Halloween haul.

 For $1 each I was able to get this spooky Halloween sign and miniature fabric pumpkin.
 The sign is going to grace my desk at school and the pumpkin is going to accompany a previous fabric pumpkin find of mine.

Next I was able to find a sarcastically hilarious double sided sign for my classroom, which was also just $1. 

Then I found the holy grail of Autumn finds. A mini pumpkin growing kit. One dollar for this was a steal. 
Say hello to my new class pet...

Lastly, and not quite Halloween related are these cute cups.
In an effort to make my future home the best it can be, I always pick up lovely pieces where I can. Here are my future kitchen's, future cups. Each were just under $1.50.

I hope everyone has an absolutely adorable, Happy Halloween!

Disclaimer: Target did not compensate me to write this post. I wrote it after buying all of these products on my own. Once again, Target if you'd like to sponsor me....I might be in to that.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fall Lush Haul

They came! My beautiful bits from Lush finally came from Canada, and I could not be more excited. I hope you will see something you like. I know I'm smitten.

Watch the complete haul here!

Lush did not pay me to do this. I bought all of these products on my own, because Lush is amazing. Although I wouldn't turn them down if they tried to compensate me.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

10 Things You Don't Know About Me

 I'll start this by saying that I love when I get to know people better. I always feel closer to people when they tell you random facts that don't really matter but can tell you a whole lot about the person. Here are 10 random facts that no one knew before. Enjoy!


1. The voice in my head has a British accent.

I blame this on the fact that I spend more time watching British YouTubers than any normal person should.

2. I snap my fingers when I get nervous.

  I can't actually explain this one. It's just something I picked up while studying music. I snap rhythms that are in my head when I'm anxious.

3. I get pink/orange and green/grey confused sometimes.

I'm a little color weak.

4. I can only drive well with my left hand.

I'm a pretty dominant right handed person but for some reason my driving is sporadic when I try to use my right hand. I actually have callouses on my left hand from driving.

5. I have occasional extreme anxiety.

My stress likes to build up and become panic attacks that come out of nowhere.

6. I eat raw pasta like potato chips.

I'm going to add that I only eat maybe a handful in one sitting. 
I really like crunchy foods, but I'm not a fan of potato chips. One day while cooking I tried raw pasta and the rest was history.

7. I once won $1.46 in a settlement for a lawsuit.

This was when certain e-Books were being sued for price gouging and I had unknowingly bought some of the books. I had a friend who won over $20 in her settlement.

8. I often use office supplies to fix my hair at work.

Just call me MissGyver.

9. My biggest pet peeve with the universe is when two people fall in love and then one of them dies.

Nothing ruins a book/movie faster for me than when this happens. I'm looking at YOU The Fault in Our Stars.

10. When I was younger I had middle child syndrome.

When I was about ten I actually thought I was invisible to everyone I loved. Ahhhhh....child-like minds. Except sometimes I still have my doubts on if my family actually hears me when I speak.

Do you have any interesting facts about yourself you'd like to share? It's really fun to find hidden things out about people. Go ahead....put it in the comments. You know you want to.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Part 6-8: Sharks and Wax People

We're back!

Sorry I didn't have my computer on vacation but I've come back and edited all my videos together just for you.

If you like dangerous animals, creepy objects that resemble real people, and mini hauls you are in luck! I hope you enjoy this video just as much as I enjoyed filming it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Part 5: LUSH!

Seems like my days lately don't quite go as planned. It's okay though. I've dried my tears with my order confirmation from Lush Cosmetics USA.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Part 3 and 4: Rain Rain, GO AWAY

Part 3 and 4 of my daily vlogging of Fall Break.

There was a lot of rain, but there were also a lot of things to occupy my time.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Part 2: Mini Series Continued....

Yay! Relaxation is taking place.

You can watch here for a little glimpse at my normal Saturdays.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fall Break: Part 1

I'm starting a new vlog mini series called Life of a Teacher on Break. I hope to make my life way more interesting through the vlogging process and hope you join me for the next week.

Happy Fall Break!!!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

DIY Halloween Window Clings

I've made it a new life resolution of mine to start celebrating holidays. So first up is Halloween. I found this insanely simple craft guessed it, Pinterest. So if you'd like to find out how I made these cuties just keep scrolling, scrolling,...scrolling.

What you will need:

  • Templates (Mine are just print outs of Halloween clip art)
  • Puffy paint in your desired colors
  • Parchment paper
  • Paint brush *optional*

Step 1:

Decide what design you are using, lay it on a flat surface and cover with parchment paper. You may want to secure it with tape to keep everything still.

Step 2:

Once everything is secure start by painting the outline. Let this sit for a couple of hours to harden. 

Tip: The longer it has to harden the easier it is to fill in.

Step 3:

Fill in the rest of your color. You can either apply it straight from the bottle or like I did. I used a paint brush to spread out the paint. Keep in mind the thinner the layer of paint the harder it is to peel of without ripping.

Step 4:

Let it dry over night. It is easiest to peel off the parchment paper when it is 100% dry. Once peeled off you are all done! The side that was not stuck to the parchment paper is the side that will stick to the window.

This is a great project for any holiday and it can be stored and reused each year. I hope you enjoyed and try it yourself!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Way I See It

My dad always tells me that I'll never know the moment that's going to change my whole life until much later.

At any moment the things I work for may not be what I'll end up doing for the rest of my life. I might change my mind and decide that my life is too short to just do one thing. 

I'm just going to do my best to go with the flow, and so should you. Because any moment now the smallest thing could completely change it all.

Just look at the clouds. The reason they are so beautiful is because they're constantly changing.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Something I'm Falling For

Taking pictures has become somewhat of a cathartic release for me. Whenever I have enough energy to look for light I'm never disappointed. Slowly learning where I can, and taking pictures of whatever is available is what is keeping me sane.

Strangely enough, one of my favorite things to photograph is my oldest camera. It just sits there and waits patiently for me.

If you have any suggestions to help me get better I will taking them willingly!

Friday, August 22, 2014

9 Ways to See Free London

1. Natural History Museum

With free admission and enough interactive, interesting, and awe inspiring exhibits to fill up several days, this is number one on my list.

Exhibits here range from animatronic dinosaurs, hands on training on how to pack for a discovery adventure, and life-size whales hanging from the ceiling.

2. Evensong at Westminster Abbey

Free to see! Just be early enough to get a seat. This is a beautiful service complete with full boy's choir and short service. The programs from the service make perfect souvenirs. 

Check the schedule Here.

3. West End Live

Full-on Broadway experience without the ticket price. This festival spans an entire weekend from Saturday morning to Sunday evening. Every 25 minutes a new act from the famous West End comes on the Trafalgar Square stage to show their stuff. Shows range from Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Matilda, Stomp, and much, much more.

At this event there are free bathrooms, many booths to spend time in between sets, and ice cream!

4. Local Festivals

Check out the internet before your trip. Often times there are many local festivals in the area. The Rent Festival was a rare find and a joy to see.

Here is a picture from the London Bus Appreciation Festival we quite literally stumbled upon one day while walking the streets.

5. London Guide App

Free app that will save your life! As long as you are in the London area this app can give you GPS directions without using data or internet. It will also give you step by step underground directions, as well as lists of what attractions are closest to you at any moment.

Rare find, this one.

6. Hyde Park

350 acres of some of the most beautiful grounds in London. Conveniently located just across the street from the Royal Albert Hall. This park holds the Princess Diana Memorial fountain that is perfect for people watching and splashing around on a hot day. The pond in front of Kensington Palace is a quaint romantic spot. Perfect for adults as well as adults with children. There is a wonderful children's park located near the Kensington Palace area.

7. British Museum

Another free must see. Great place to spend a day. There are plenty of shops and eateries near by as well as a nice air conditioned, HUGE museum.

8. St. Pancras Station

One of the oldest and most beautiful stations in London. This place is beautiful and functional as a busy underground station. If you are a Harry Potter fan you will find Platform 9 and three quarters here.

9. Walk the Streets

This is self explanatory. You can't say you've seen real local London until you've taken a day to just explore the streets. You never know what you will find.

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