10 Confessions.

Sunsets make me cry.

I hate confrontation and will do whatever it takes to avoid it.

I would rather go on a road trip than take a plane anywhere.

Despite appearances to the contrary, I sometimes get paralyzed by crippling shyness.

I haven't visited my doctor or dentist in a while, and I'm terrified to go back.

When I was about five or six years old, I was overwhelmed by the sudden realization that my mother would one day die. I still feel overwhelmed by this realization sometimes.

I detest eating fish unless it is battered and fried beyond recognition.

I can spend an entire day just reading.

Sometimes I get jealous about my friends who are engaged, married, or about to have babies, but then I remember these are not ingredients to personal happiness.

I don't know the secret to happiness, and that's okay.

picture via we heart it

Do you have any confessions you feel brave enough to share?

7 films I can't wait to see.

Warning: Some of these trailers may be not be suitable for minors due to language, violence, and other non-kid things. You have been warned...

What movies are you looking forward to this spring/summer? Let me know in the comments! :-)

Lolcat of the Week

How could I not post this Lolcat?! I've been on such a Star Wars kick lately, hehe. Have a great week, everyone! :D

p.s.) I have a poll going on over in my right sidebar ---> over whether or not to keep posting weekly Lolcats. Vote, please! 

I wish I may, I wish I might...

I wish I had some expendable income, because then I might have these lovely items winging their way to me right now...

Well, that's my wish list of the moment. What are you wishing for today, bloggy readers?

{all of the above items can be found on etsy.}

Brown Paper Packages.

You know I'm all about the favorites on this blog, so when I heard about this exchange, I may have had a kitten or five thousand. Here are the deets:

Cole, the writer of my new favorite blog, Adventures in Love and Happiness, came up with the fabulous idea of pairing up different bloggers to exchange 3 of their very favorite things. Here's some more info about this exchange from Cole herself:

The Brown Paper Packages gift exchange is all about sharing your favorite things. A book, a recipe, a necklace, a shirt, any of your favorites that you'd like to share.
Participating in the Brown Paper Packages gift exchange is as easy as 1-2-3
1. Email me your address at nicolekboyd@gmail.com before April 1.
2. Pick 3 of your favorite things that you'd like to share with your package recipient.
3. Ship your favorites to your exchange partner by April 23.

To learn more about it, visit Cole's blog and don't forget to pick up a button for your blog to help spread the word!

Now I just have to decide on 3 of my favorite things...

Happy Friday!

picture via we heart it

What a long and crazy roller coaster of a week this has been, bloggy readers. This week started out really well -- I had a lot of great things making me happy, such as new music and beautiful weather. I wrote a book review on an awesome new book series I'm totally digging, and I did some bloggy redecorating. But there were some low points, too -- I was buried in paperwork all week, trying to get all the grading done before the end of the school term (which is today), and more importantly, the Florida Senate passed a bill that threatens the future of public education in my state -- not to mention my livelihood as a high school teacher in a public school.

Boy, am I glad that this week is over, especially since I am now officially on spring break! My plans for the next week? Lots of sleep, possibly going to my lady doctor (eep!) and the dentist (double eep!!), plus working on my thesis.

But for now, how about some fill in the blank fun?

1. The best piece of advice I was ever given was that I'm the only one who can make myself happy.

2. If I had a million dollars to give to one charity I would give it to the Haitians -- I worry that others have forgotten about them when they are still suffering and in need of our help .

3. If I got to choose my "last meal" it would be some crunchy French bread, some yummy Manchego cheese, steak frites, creme brulee, and a tapioca pearl drink (Who cares about the calories?! It's my last meal! :D) .

4. My hair is not as wild as it used to be ever since I did the Brazilian keratin treatment, and to tell the truth, I kinda miss the wildness -- it won't curl anymore =( .

5. If at first you don't succeed try, try again -- practice makes perfect, don't you know.

6. I have always been very patient with everyone -- except myself. I need to learn to get better at this.

7. Oh....and by the way.... I have absolutely nothing to grade this weekend for once in a veddy, veddy long time, and I feel absolutely wonderful about that.

Want to fill in your own blanks? Go on and post 'em on your blog, but don't forget to link back to Lauren!

What are your plans for this weekend? Whatever you do, I hope you have a (insert super awesome adjective here) weekend! :-D

my sweet old etcetera.

Now that my blog is (almost) how I want it, I thought I'd better explain the name change. In case you didn't notice, this here blog is no longer called "I blog, therefore I am." Not after I found 10,000 blogs that had the same name on Google. (Damn, and I thought I was being so clever...)

I was rooting around for different blog names when I came a poem I'd never read before by one of my favorite poets, e.e. cummings:

my sweet old etcetera
aunt lucy during the recent

war could and what
is more did tell you just
what everybody was fighting

my sister

Isabel created hundreds
hundreds)of socks not to
mention fleaproof earwarmers
etcetera wristers etcetera, my
mother hoped that

i would die etcetera
bravely of course my father used
to become hoarse talking about how it was
a privilege and if only he
could meanwhile my

self etcetera lay quietly
in the deep mud et

cetera, of
Your smile
eyes knees and of your Etcetera) 

It was like a light turned on inside my head! I knew in that very moment I'd found my new blog name. To celebrate, I got a new, springy blog layout aaaand I made a new blog button, which you're welcome to grab below to put on your blog. :-)

Love at first write

Please read my very important post from earlier today concerning Senate Bill 6/House Bill 707!

SB6: All Teachers Left Behind.

As you may have found out from my Twitter feed today, the Florida senate passed a bill this morning, Senate Bill 6. What does this bill do? For starters, it ties teacher pay directly to student performance on state exams. It also eliminates seniority, advanced degrees, and any notion of job security as far as teachers are concerned.

I have a nickname for SB6 -- I call it the "All Teachers Left Behind Bill." As you can tell, I'm not too optimistic about this. Not because my students do not perform well on state exams -- I actually have a decent passage rate in my classes -- but because I think it is jeopardizing the future of students, teachers, and public education in general.

While I do think assessments are important in education, I do not believe it is fair to base educator pay (which is already terribly low to begin with) upon student performance. What if I have a class of students who are poorly motivated, despite my best efforts to inspire them to pass the FCAT? So many of my students come from low-income families and have to work jobs themselves just to help make ends meet. Their motivation is more often than not getting a paycheck over getting a grade. In addition, a great number of my students are immigrants from Cuba and other nearby foreign countries, and so they have a language barrier to cross before they can hope to pass a test like the FCAT. Is it fair for these students' scores to affect my salary if these issues are out of my control? And is this bill fair for teachers whose students are enrolled in ESE or ESOL courses?

Someone wrote a great letter to the editor of a local paper about this:
In response to the March 15 Teachers' pay faces big overhaul article on teacher evaluations and teacher pay, here are some issues I hope to raise with my elected representatives in the Florida Legislature:
  • Will we be scientific about applying this new evaluation system? For example, will we pilot-test the system before rolling it out statewide? And will the results of this pilot test be published and open for peer review? And if the pilot test shows that the system cannot validly identify which teachers in a school district are ``better than'' others, will we still keep the system?
  • So that teachers can be relieved of their fears that this new system is an insidious attempt to lower their meager salaries even more, could the state publish some figures showing, on the positive side, how high a teacher's salary could rise if that teacher's students have high test scores?
  • If a teacher's pay will depend on how high a teacher's students score on state tests, wouldn't it be fair to make students and their parents sign contracts promising that they, too, will take the necessary steps to ensure that the students' test scores are as high as possible? And if a student fails to come to class every day or fails to do his or her required assignments in a class, does that contract become null and void? And should such a student's test scores be factored out of a teacher's salary calculations?
  • Considering that it has never been easy to put a highly qualified teacher in all of Florida's classrooms, will we heed Hippocrates' famous caveat that the new evaluation system, first and foremost, do no harm?
  • If increasing a teacher's pay based on seniority is such a bad thing, shouldn't the state banish it for all state employees and all other civil-service jobs including for college professors at state universities; UF, FSU, and FIU; troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol and corrections officers?
  • If it is fair to make half of a teacher's salary contingent on student test scores, couldn't the state devise similar systems for its other civil-service employees? How about 50 percent of the salaries of our state court judges tied to decreases in criminal recidivism? Or 50 percent of the salaries of doctors in state-funded hospitals tied to decreases in patient's weight and cholesterol levels? Or 50 percent of the salaries of elected officials tied to honestly representing the needs of their constituents?

DeNight raises some valid questions, but unfortunately, Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, who wrote the bill, apparently did not consider these issues upon writing Senate Bill 6. Its future now lies in the hands of the Florida House, whose members will ultimately decide whether or not to pass this bill. I hope for the future of Florida's public education, and more personally, for my own future, that the house decides not to pass Senate Bill 6, now House Bill 707.

picture via flickr

To learn more about Senate Bill 6 and what you can do to help, visit these sites:

United Teachers of Dade

ETA: Call 850-488-1450 and tell the Speaker of the House that SB6/HB707 is UNACCEPTABLE!

These things are making me incredibly happy right now...

The fact that Spring Break is less than a week away.

The new album by She & Him, Volume Two. It's amazing!

The warm weather that is slowly but surely making a comeback to South Florida.

Fresh croissants with my morning coffee -- they're an extravagance neither my hips nor my wallet can afford every day, but that doesn't make me enjoy them any less. (:

Good hair days. They never fail to add a spring to my step, no matter what.

Having a sturdy roof over my head and a warm bed in which to sleep every night.

Snuggling with my darling kitty cat, Tigger.

This is my cat, Tigger, whom I lurve.

What's making you happy today?

Eat, Pray, Love. (Now these are three words I can get behind.)

You know how I read Eat, Pray, Love with my Student Book Club last month and loved it? Yeah well, there's a movie coming out this summer starring Julia Roberts. I am so there.

So what do you think? Have you read the book? Is Julia Roberts amazing or what? (Rhetorical question for the win. :D)

My review of The Hunger Games.

In case you didn't know, I also write for the blog Bewitched Bookworms, and this week I'm reviewing the first two books in The Hunger Games series. So come visit me over at Bewitched Bookworms and say hello! :-)

Have you read The Hunger Games series? Are you as addicted as I am? I can't wait for Mockingjay to come out this summer!!! :D

Lolcat of the Week

Have a great week! :-)


I saw the musical Wicked last night for the very first time, and I absolutely adored it. I'm a fan of the book by Gregory Maguire upon which it's based, and I think that's what made me hesitant for so long as far as seeing the musical -- I wasn't sure how it would measure up to the book. But my suspicions, happily, were unfounded.

If you're unfamiliar with "Wicked," it's a retelling of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, with a twist -- the story is told from the Wicked Witch of the West's perspective, and in this version she's not the villain... the Wizard of Oz is. The musical takes the central premise and kicks it up a notch or five, adding infectious melodies and stunning set designs and costumes. But what stays with you long after you've seen "Wicked" isn't the music or the costumes, it's the story.

I read a review about the film that sums it up pretty nicely:
"Wicked works because it has something Broadway musicals, so addicted to facetiousness and camp, have largely given up on: a story that adults can take seriously ... If every musical had a brain, a heart, and the courage of Wicked, Broadway really would be a magical place."
- Richard Zoglin, Time magazine
I have not always been a fan of musicals because of their so-called "facetiousness and camp," but "Wicked" is the type of musical I really love. If the story's not there, then neither am I, and the story is definitely there in "Wicked." It has everything you want in a story -- comedy, suspense, love, and a satisfying resolution.

With all that being said, I'm still a fan of the music in "Wicked," especially the songs "Popular" and "Defying Gravity." In case you've never heard them before and would like a sneak peek of the musical, I'm including them below:


Defying Gravity

If you want to learn more about the musical, click on the picture above -- it will take you to its official site which is full of neat goodies like behind-the-scenes clips, pictures, timelines, and more.

Have you seen "Wicked" before? If so, what are your favorite songs? Let me know in the comments! 

P.S.) I decided to change my blog name from "I blog, therefore I am" to this new name, "my sweet old etcetera." Can you guess where I got it from?? ;)

Spring has (finally) sprung!

Today is officially the first day of Spring. (Cue sunshine and chirping birds.) I for one hope this means we'll finally start getting some warmer weather down here in Miami. I don't think I'm asking for much. What am I doing to celebrate the fact that Spring has finally sprung? I'm going to see the musical "Wicked" tonight with Ricky and some friends from work! I'm so, so excited. :-) 

Wednesday's St. Patty's Day celebration was only okay. We went to a bar that had an outside street party going on. Ironically, the weather was colder than the beer, which doesn't happen often in Miami during March. But at least the beer was Guinness, so that made me happy. When I couldn't take the cold anymore, Ricky and I went to my new favorite burger joint, Five Guys. Best. Cheeseburgers. Ever. And their fries are pretty good, too.

On Thursday I watched Ricky play some of the new "God of War" game, which is amazing. And yesterday we went to a happy hour thing with my faculty at this pseudo Tex-Mex restaurant/bar. The food was okay but the strawberry margaritas were good.

And now I'm off to clean my room, which looks like a tornado hit it, and maybe grade a pile of essays. Or not. The weather's simply too pretty today to stay cooped up indoors. Hm, maybe I'll grade them outside...?

Have a fabulous weekend! I hope your first day of Spring is wonderful, wherever you are. :-)

picture via we heart it

Kiss me, I'm Irish! (Okay, not really...)

"May you always walk in sunshine.
May you never want for more.
May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door."
- Traditional Irish Blessing 
pictures via we heart it

I forgot to wear green today and my students threatened to pinch me, so I quickly grabbed a green rubber band and slipped it onto my wrist. Jeez, some people sure are serious about holidays! ;)

We have no definite plans for tonight -- Ricky and I were thinking of maybe hitting up a bar or two and enjoying some Guinness, but as it's so rainy and cold and blah right now, we're not sure. Maybe we'd better bring the Guinnesss home.

Before I close, here's my all-time favorite Irish person, Bono, singing "Sunday Bloody Sunday" in one of his best performances. I'll be seeing U2 in Miami this summer and I can't wait! :-)

What are you doing to celebrate? Whatever you do, I hope you have a grand time! Happy St. Patrick's Day! :-)

My Features

Here are some of my features on this blog, some of which went the way of the dodo. I may choose to resurrect one or two of them in the future, maybe. I don't know. Maybe you can convince me in the comments.

Bring on the short sleeves and the sunshine!

The weather has been unseasonably cool in Miami lately. Now I know 50 degrees Fahrenheit for some of you may sound like a day at the beach (literally), but for tropical babies like me who have never even seen snow, this is cold. And I'm sick of it, Miami. Spring arrives in less than a week and it still feels like Winter down here! I'm sick of sweaters -- bring on the short sleeves and the sunshine.

I came home today to find three books waiting for me in the mail --  I love getting stuff in the mail! I ordered The Virgin Suicides, Alice Have I Been, and Big Breasts, Wide Hips. All three books are for three separate book clubs I belong to: Student Book Club, Faculty Book Club, and an online book club I recently joined, the Slow Readers Book Club (is that an awesome name or what?).  I foresee a lot of reading in my future...

Well, I'm off to shower and wash my hair. My friends always tell me I have pretty, shiny hair, but the truth is I wish it was just a little bit dryer, because all that shine = grease, and grease = me having to wash it every other day. No fun! Do you guys have any tips for making my hair stay fresher longer in between shampoos?

Hope you're having a happy Tuesday! :-)

picture found here

Update and Lolcat of the Week

Wow, I haven't blogged since Thursday of last week! Craziness. What I've been doing in the interim:
  • Grading essays. (Fun, fun.)
  • Buying another Zhu Zhu pet. (Fun, fun -- no, seriously!)
  • Enjoying some happy hour goodness with a good friend on Friday after some much needed retail therapy.
  • Making Ricky watch "Lost in Austen," then being thrilled to discover he likes it as much as I do.
  • Reading the second book in The Hunger Games series, Catching Fire
  • Reading more Patricia Veryan, this time her Golden Chronicles series, which delves into the history of the Jacobites.
  • Watching my friend Jeannette kick butt in a community theater production of the musical "Carousel."
  • Celebrating Ricky's parents' wedding anniversary.
  • Waiting anxiously for my cousin's baby girl to be born, which happened this afternoon at 2 PM. (Welcome aboard, Alejandra Sofia! :D)
This week and the next promise to be just as busy -- we have the last FCAT exam tomorrow (a state exam for public school students), on Wednesday I'll be celebrating St. Patty's with le boyf and some friends, on Saturday I'm going to see "Wicked" with Ricky and two friends, and then I'll be grading, grading, grading, in the hopes I'll get everything done well before the end of this term, March 26th.

I'll still find time to blog and read your darling blogs when I can, never fear. And here's this week's Lolcat, a little late, but no less funny. I hope your Monday's been going well! Give me your update in the comments -- let me know what you've been up to. :-)

ETA: I caved in and got a formspring account some time ago, and you know? It's completely and utterly addicting. I've gotten some great questions thus far -- feel free to add yours to the mix! :)

"The clouds I can handle, but I can't fight with an eclipse."

So this was released today...


I can't stop watching it! It's looking so much better than "New Moon," cheesy dialogue and new Victoria (sniff, sniff) aside. What do you think of it, bloggy readers?

In case you didn't know, I am taking a break from my blogging duties over at The Danger Magnet, but in April I will be running a book discussion on Eclipse. Click on the button below to learn more. :)


I love She & Him like whoa.

 Their new album comes out on March 23. I cannot WAIT!

Thanks to Bekah for the heads up on this video! :)

P.S.) In case you didn't read yesterday's post, I'm getting a bloggy makeover! Help me decide on a new blog design, please. :) 

Here we go again...

 picture found here

Help! I'm bored with my blog. Yes, again.

You see, I get tired of certain things very easily (thankfully not the things that count, like my boyfriend or chocolate), and I've been getting kinda sick of looking at the same blog, as pretty as it is (I love my bloggy designer, Daniella!).

So I am considering getting a bloggy makeover, possibly even a new design. One of the new design sites (new to me) I've been liking lately is Rainy Day Template. I really like her designs, particularly Penelope, Emmeline, and Madeleine. Out of those 3, which do you like best? I'm leaning toward Penelope, methinks...

I've also been doing some thinking regarding this blog's features. I don't think I'm going to get rid of my monthly favorites lists, as they're loads of fun to write, but I'm unsure if I want to keep posting weekly Lolcats. What do you think, bloggy readers? Would you mind seeing the Lolcats go the way of the dodo (poor dodos -- what did you ever do other than possess a silly name)?

I kind of want to start new bloggy features, like discussions ... and picture of the week ... and other stuff that I'm still cooking in my brain. Hmm, food for thought.

In other news, and speaking of food, last week I was in search of the best red velvet cupcake in town (town being South Florida). I had never tried one before, so I wanted to make it into a quest of sorts. First I tried the one at Starbucks, which came in its own little box and everything. Behold...

My final verdict? It was pretty much underwhelming -- stale and bland.

Then Ricky took me to this cupcake store in Coral Gables called Buttercream. I had never been there in person before, though Ricky once brought home a vanilla cupcake for me. It was scrumptious! But how would their red velvet cupcake taste? If its appearance meant anything, it sure seemed promising...

Final verdict? It was the best red velvet cupcake I have ever had, which I know is not saying much because it's only the second one I've ever had, but still ... I don't think I'll find one better, at least not in South Florida. It was fluffy and rich and creamy, without being overpowering. It's a delicate balance, achieving the right mixture of lightness and creaminess in a cupcake, but I think Buttercream does a pretty damn good job.

So yep, that's my life right now. I'm looking forward to renting "Up in the Air" today with Ricky -- never got a chance to see it in the theaters! What's new with you? Let me know in the comments!

Don't forget to let me know your favorite bloggy template from the 3 above, and whether or not I should keep the Lolcats around. And while you're at it, why don't you tell me what your favorite cupcake flavor is. :)

Lolcat of the Week

Okay, this one truly made me LOL! Too funny. Have a great week! :)

It's fill-in-the-blank time again!

I missed out on yesterday's fill-in-the-blank fun because I was too busy gabbing about my favorites, so I'm making up for it today! :-)

picture & fill-in-the-blank prompts found here

1.  One thing I MUST do before I die is publish a book -- this is my lifelong dream. So far I've sent two query letters, which were summarily rejected, but I will keep on trying.

2.  I would rather teach high school students than elementary or middle school students (and I know this from experience!) any day.

3.  If I could give my younger self one piece of advice it would be to have more confidence in yourself -- you have everything it takes to make yourself happy, you just don't know it yet.

4.  If I won the lottery tomorrow I'd  get my family and me out of debt, buy a beachfront apartment in Miami, and put the rest into savings for the proverbial rainy day.

5.  The best surprise ever was when I realized I was falling in love with my boyfriend, Ricky, who went to my high school and who I never really looked at -- until college.

6.  My biggest fault is  I am impulsive. I often make split-second decisions without fully thinking them through, and while the gamble sometimes does pay off, more often than not, it doesn't.

7.  My biggest strength is patience -- the irony of it is that I am more patient with others than with myself.

Want to play along and fill in your own blanks? Just post it on your blog and don't forget to link back to Lauren!

These are a few of my (current) favorite things...

I  first heard of the game Plants vs. Zombies from a dear bloggy friend, cutie. *waves hello at cutie* She -- along with everyone else on the Internet, it seems -- ranted and raved about this game until I grew curious. I just wanted to find out what all the hype was about. I found out it was a computer game and didn't really feel like playing it, preferring to play games on my DS and on Ricky's PS3. But then I got my new toy, aka my iPhone (cue choir of heavenly angels) and realized I'd gained not only a new phone but also a new portable gaming device. Which could play "Plants vs. Zombies." Which I downloaded first chance I got. And you know what, cutie? It's completely and utterly worth the hype -- I beat it within two days of downloading it and cannot stop playing it! It's so addicting and a great way to while away an afternoon (or a weekend, in my case, LOL).

I love perfume, I really do, but with the economy the way it is, I can't afford to spend as much on money on it as I would like. Which is why I love perfume samples so much. Whether I find them at Sephora or inside fashion magazines, I love collecting them. Not only do they help me find great new perfumes, but they keep me smelling nice when I can't afford to buy a new perfume. Plus they are easy to take on trips, since they're so tiny. Some good places to score perfume samples FOR FREE are Sephora, as I mentioned before, and in any big department store like Macy's or Dillard's.
 There is something to be said for a well written romance novel. Mind you, I know the majority of them are crappy bodice rippers -- all "thrusting manhood" this or "nubile virgin" that. To which I say, DO NOT WANT. Call me a Puritan, call me a prude. I don't care. I like to keep things mysterious. I prefer it when movies fade to black, when the plot is the thing, and not how hot and heavy the love scene was. I feel the same way about romance novels, and my favorite romance novelist will always, always be Patricia Veryan.

I was first introduced to her writing thanks to my mother, to whom I owe my book wormy ways. :) She brought home this book from the library called Married Past Redemption. I think I was in my early teens. It was a time when Danielle Steele was all the rage. I read Steele and liked her okay, but something was missing. Then I read Married Past Redemption, which told the story of a young woman who marries someone out of convenience, just to help out her family which is financially struggling. Her groom had the necessary riches, but she didn't love him -- she really loved another. (Dun, dun, DUN.) This novel takes place in the 1800s, and me being a sucker for period piece anything, I fell in love at first read. It has everything the best books have: adventure, suspense, love, comedy. I devoured it instantly and immediately asked for more, plowing through my library's entire Veryan collection (which was substantive) in weeks. I loved her books because of how immersive they were -- you felt not only as though what you were reading was a true account, but as if you were actually there when it was happening.

I reread Married Past Redemption this past week, having since that time purchased almost all of Veryan's books for cheap from used book stores, and it still holds up. I would've loved to live in 19th century England. Sure, the lack of good plumbing would have sucked, but I would've loved the elegance, the adherence to manners and dignity. Which brings me to my next favorite...

I forget how I first heard of Lost in Austen. I think I may have seen a piece of it on either TV or YouTube. Whatever the case, I found it on sale on Amazon and snapped it up on my friend Trish's recommendation. I am so glad I did! It's ahh-may-zing! It tells the story of a young girl from modern day London whose absolute favorite book is Pride and Prejudice. She wishes her hum drum existence had the elegance and courtly manner of the novel, not finding the contentment and romance she craves from her thickheaded (though well-meaning) boyfriend. Then one night she hears a noise in her bathroom, and when she goes to investigate, she finds Elizabeth Bennett standing in her bathtub. Yes, the Elizabeth Bennett! Apparently her bathroom is a portal into the fictional world of Pride and Prejudice, where the beloved characters live in their own parallel universe. Elizabeth persuades her to switch places with her and much frenzy ensues... I won't say anything else other than do yourself a favor and watch this series. It's funny, romantic, beautiful and a must-see for any Austen fans.


If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I've been craving cupcakes lately, chiefly red velvet cupcakes. I finally got around to trying them for the first time at Starbucks two days ago, and you know? They're not my favorite thing, but I can see the appeal. My favorite cupcake is from Buttercream, this amazing cupcake store in Miami. Even their Plain Jane vanilla cupcakes (which are not my favorite) are fantastic. There's just something so wonderful about a well made cupcake. Cake itself can be great, but very cloying at times, whereas a cupcake is just the right size -- the perfect amount of sweetness.

I love daisies because of how friendly they are. They are not intimidating flowers, like roses or lilies. They come in these great, bright colors, plus they can last a loooong time, a lot longer than roses. Case in point: Ricky (aka my boyf) got me a bouquet of pink and purple daisies (my favorite) for Valentine's Day last month, and it wasn't until this week, three weeks later, that they began to wilt. Had it been roses, they would've been dead within a week or so. But daisies are hardier -- they are superflowers! And I love them.

What are your favorites this month, bloggy friends? Let me know in the comments! And thank you for all the comment-love this week -- I love getting your comments in my inbox. :-D

These are some of my pet peeves.

I was working on a favorites post for tomorrow when I got to thinking about my pet peeves, things I really dislike. In case you didn't know, I am a passionate lover of lists, so I decided to list some of my biggest pet peeves of the moment pour vous...

  1. confrontation. Ick, I hate confrontation. Just the thought of one makes me break out in hives. I'm a lover, not a fighter! But seriously, I would rather solve problems amicably, without any animosity. My horoscope sign is Libra, and I think it fits me to a tee -- I'm all about keeping things calm, balanced.
  2. shaving my legs. Okay, lest you think I am some grody pig, I do shave my legs. I just hate doing it. I joke with my boyfriend that my legs start at my armpits, they are so fricking long, so shaving my legs is quite the chore. Plus I'm forever cutting myself, which is no fun.
  3. catty girls. I was unfortunate enough to befriend some catty, catty girls in high school. They made my life a living hell all through high school and into college. I cringe every time I get catty girls in my classroom today. I think they give women a bad name -- women have it rough enough as it is, why must we make life a living hell for each other? This is something I'll never understand.
  4. word problems. Why the hell should I care about finding the answer to word problems? Who cares at what speed the train was going or what Ginger's approximate velocity is?!You were wrong, math teachers. I do not need this skill in real life. And I am so glad I never have to do a word problem again.
  5. reggaeton. I know many of you may not know what reggaeton is. Count your blessings! It's a style of music that is basically all the rage where I live in Hialeah, a city near Miami, FL. I dislike it because it's vulgar and it degrades women. Plus I just hate the repetitive dun-dun-dun beat that drums against my ears. Yuck.
 picture found here

What are your pet peeves, bloggy friends? Let me know in the comments!

{Blog It Forward!} 5 things that inspire me.

Much thanks to sfgirlbybay for hosting blog it forward and letting me be a part of it! For my post on things that inspire me, I've decided to use pictures to help me out. :) So without further ado, here are five things that never fail to inspire me:

Music is and will always be my number one inspiration. I work best, whether it's grading or cleaning or writing, while listening to music. My favorite types of music to listen to while working are classical (especially when it's string-heavy) and ballads (especially when they're by Tori Amos).

I will never forget the creative writing teacher I had in college who advised us that we needed to read in order to become better writers. She was so right. I am forever reading with a highlighter and some nifty post-its at the ready, ready to make note of passages that inspire me. Writers that most inspire me are Michael Ondaatje, Sylvia Plath, and E.E. Cummings.

I often get inspired while traveling, whether it's by foot or by car or by plane. In fact, some of my best poems have been written on napkins while in the car. I don't know what it is about being in motion, but it definitely inspires me.

Relationships have always inspired me. Something about the push and pull of them ignites something in me and inspires me to be a better daughter, sister, friend, and lover. And as for romantic relationships, both the beginnings and endings are so fraught with emotion that they often move me to write poetry.

I have always loved how the best photographs can tell stories. I took Photography 101 in college and it was like my eyes were opened for the first time -- I started looking, really looking, at everything for what felt like the first time, with new eyes. Every moment began representing an opportunity for a great photo. I am currently saving up for a Polaroid camera (not to mention the super expensive film), but in the meantime I make do with my trusty little Sony camera and my iPhone.
Yesterday I was tagged by Anne Sage, who wrote a beautiful post on how March inspires her, and be sure to check out artcetera's post tomorrow. Here are the other bloggers participating in today's blog it forward:

To see the full list of bloggers participating in blog it forward, go here. What are your inspirations?

Lolcat of the Week

I love my two cats, Tigger and DeeDee, like mad. The only downside to owning two cats? The way their hair gets all over EVERYTHING. Which is why I can relate to this week's Lolcat.
Funny Pictures of Cats With Captions