Project 365: Overdose of Cuteness

I was flipping through the latest issue of National Geographic when I came across this little guy:

Please tell me that is not the most adorable thing you have ever seen. I literally could not look away from the page, I was so overwhelmed by his cuteness. This overdose of cuteness is exactly what my humdrum Monday needed.

P.S.) I finally got around to seeing "Black Swan" last night with Ricky. If I had to describe this film in three words, they would be: beautiful, disturbing, and unsettling. Yes, I know Natalie Portman received a SAG award last night for this film. Yes, I know she's also nominated for an Oscar. She deserves them both -- here's hoping she gets the latter, too! (I'll be posting an extended review of the film sometime later this week. I'm still letting it digest.)


Project 365: Favorite

Do you have a favorite accessory that you can't leave the house without, something you feel naked without? For me, it's this pair of earrings I got from Fossil last year. I lurve them. I will even coordinate outfits around them.

Oh yeah. I've got it bad.


Project 365: Post

Today I received the sweetest postcard in the mail from Danielle. It made my morning! Thanks, Danielle, for the well wishes. I am feeling a whole lot better now that I'm finally cured of the flu/plague/pharyngitis. And I plan on totally getting back to writing as soon as I finish the book series I'm currently reading, The Mortal Instruments. It has completely sucked me in, so all of my free time (aka, when I'm not grading or spending time with Ricky) has been devoted to it.

Thanks again for the postcard! Garrison Keillor is right -- it's such a nice feeling, getting something in the mail that's not a bill.


Project 365: Profile

It has been like two weeks since I posted my last Project 365 post, so I figured I was due for another. I was having (vain) fun messing around with my iPhone camera and came up with the picture you see below. Normally I don't like how I come out in pictures, but I thought the angle was kind of neat. *shrugs*

What are you doing this weekend? I am just excited that I have no grading to do. Of course, this is because I accidentally left my papers at work, but still. Happy, happy! I have big plans for this weekend that involve: finally seeing "Black Swan," barbecue, working on my novel, sleep, sleep, and more sleep. Oh, and finishing the first book in The Mortal Instruments series, City of Bones.

That is one crazy eyebrow.

Did you check out my favorites post yet?


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

cat naps.
I am loving cat naps this month, by which I mean both comforting little naps and sleeping with my cat. Not so much when he camps out on my feet though. Ouch. I am trying to perfect the art of sleeping just the right amount of time for a nap, because usually I wake up feeling groggy and headachey, and generally worse than before I took the nap in the first place. (Which defeats the purpose of the nap, if you ask me!) I don't think I've gotten it quite right just yet, but it seems as if I can't sleep more than 30 minutes and wake up feeling good. Anything less than that (within reason) is fine.
tide stick to go.
I have one of these little babies in my purse and it is so worth it. Every time I forget to take it, like when I'm changing purses and forget or whatever, invariably I will spill something on myself and have to walk around wearing my food all day. This product is a life saver. It removes stains very quickly with minimal effort. One of my favoritest ever things. No lie.
I kept hearing good things about this book, so I decided to pick it up. And you know? It didn't disappoint. I agree with the book's detractors that it is a bit reminiscent of the novel The Giver, but while some say this is an outright copy, I see it more as an homage. The author's voice is all her own, and it is very poetic and gripping. I won't say much about it other than it takes place in a dystopian society in which civilians are "matched" to their spouses by the government, as they are also matched to their jobs and so on and so forth. It has a girl and a boy and another boy, and it asks the question, "What if you wanted to decide your own match?" Which is a pretty interesting what if, if you ask me. It's a compelling read. And apparently there's a part two expected. Can't wait! 

sampar prodigal pen.
I forget where I first heard about this product. All I know is that it is keeping my break outs in check. Two years ago, I suddenly started getting large break outs on my cheeks and chin. I've tried everything from Noxema to Clinique, but nothing worked very well. This is one of the best products I've tried. You can roll it directly on the problem area up to five times a day (any more will unnecessarily dry out your skin), and it helps clear those problem areas right away. Plus it's so small it easily fits inside your purse or pocket. (Just like my beloved Tide stick!)

One of my friends recommended this iPhone app to me. What does it do? Well, as its website states, "Mint brings all your financial accounts together online, automatically categorizes your transactions, lets you set budgets & helps you achieve your savings goals." Best of all, it will send you alerts via your phone for things like large deposits or withdrawals, so it's a good way to keep an eye on your finances, not to mention identity theft. I've also noticed that my spending has gone down ever since I started using this site/app, which is a big win in my book (not to mention my savings account).
How do I love thee, Samosas? Let me count the ways... I love your chocolaty goodness, the way you melt inside my mouth. I love how you were the only thing my weak stomach could take while I was suffering from the flu/plague. I love your cute packaging. The only thing I don't love? That I have to wait for girl scouts to bring you to me and can't buy you whenever I please. Boo.

What are your favorites this month?
You can check out more of my favorites here.

{all pictures credit of Google images}

An update and stuff. (She's aliiiiiiive!)

So. I'm still alive, somehow. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I have been battling the flu/plague since January 1st. I must have caught it from someone during my New Year's Eve celebrations. I don't know. At first it was a typical cold, with typical cold annoyances: sniffles, coughs, voice coming and going. The usual.

Then suddenly last-last Saturday I came home with a fever and feeling crappier than usual. The sniffling and coughing had somehow gotten worse, and I had body aches to boot. Not. Good. It's funny, I look back at a picture I took of myself that Saturday and I can see how sick I was. It's written all over my face. The following Sunday found me begging for mercy, feeling so sick I stayed in bed all day. Monday night I did not sleep at all, spending the whole night coughing up my lungs (no, not literally, but just because it's metaphorical doesn't mean it wasn't painful). Tuesday found me coughing so hard, I literally coughed up a little blood (scary scary!). So I guess technically, I did cough up my lungs. A little. (Scary scary!)

I wound up missing work on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, staying in bed every single day until Saturday. Even though my munchkins were taking their midterms. Even though grades were due at the end of the week. Fever came and went all week, as did my hacking cough. Finally, my parents convinced me to visit a doctor on Thursday, which is something I generally don't like to do. There I found out my flu/plague was something else, something by the name of pharyngitis, which is basically the inflammation of the throat due to infection. And both of my tonsils were infected as heck. So the doctor prescribed an antibiotic and a cough suppressant and sent me home with the suggestion to drink lots and lots of soup with lemon. Which I did.

Today I went back to work feeling better if not 100% myself yet. But I'm getting there. And I've learned my lesson, damn it. I'm going to do better on my sleeping and eating habits. No more skipping breakfast and/or lunch. No more skimping on sleep. And next year I am getting the flu shot for sure.

So what else was I up to during my time battling the flu/plague/ pharyngitis? Well, I did a lot of reading, polishing off The Wolves of Mercy Falls series, the Fallen series, and my new favorite book, Matched. Today I started reading yet another series, The Mortal Instruments, based on the very high recommendation of one of my students. So many books, so little time...

What have YOU been up to lately? Update me in the comments!

P.S.) You can keep up with my speed-reading here:

P.P.S.) Oh, and give me your book recs in the comments! I could always use more book recs.

P.P.P.S.) You can expect more Project 365 posts soon! :)

P.P.P.P.S.) I just really like post scripts.


Project 365: Bitter & Sweet.

Sorry for the lack of bloggage yesterday -- I fell asleep early and forgot. Yes, I know I'm an old lady, but I have a good excuse. I came home absolutely knackered last night (as my friends across the pond say), plus I'd gone to Happy Hour at a local pub yesterday evening with some friends and the boyf, where I enjoyed a pint or two.

To make up for not blogging, I'm including two pictures in this post.  The first is one of my most favorite beer Guinness (which I enjoyed at The Pub last night). The second is of me, wearing my latest favorite scarf and my latest favorite lip gloss.

Project 365: Rainbow

My mom's birthday is next Wednesday, and for her birthday this year, she requested an eyeshadow palette. So this is the eyeshadow palette I procured for her:

You like? It's by Stila, whose line of makeup I lurve. This palette had good reviews on Sephora, plus it contains every color under the sun (and then some), so I figured it was a good buy. I hope she likes it!

Speaking of color, I read the poem "Theme for English B" by the amazing Langston Hughes this week, which led to an great discussion on race and how we label each other in society. I then instructed my students to "go home and write a page tonight," just as the speaker in the poem was instructed to do by his professor. In order to better encourage my students to do the assignment, I promised I would do it, too. And I actually like how mine turned out! I did it in blank verse form, modeling it after Langston Hughes. Let me know what you think...

by Ana Cristina Simón

My instructions were,

Go home and write
a page tonight.
And let that page come out of you---
Then, it will be true.

I realize now Langston Hughes was right in wondering if it was that simple---
Because it’s not that simple.
I am thirty-two, Cuban-American, born in Miami.
I was raised in Hialeah, where I also went to school.
I am the only one in my immediate family to graduate college.
And I have always known, somehow, that I would end up in school again—
Only next time as a teacher.

It’s not easy to know what is true for you or me
at thirty-two, my age. But like Langston Hughes, I guess I’m
what I feel and see and hear. Students, I hear you:
hear you, hear me – we all – you, me talk on this page.
So listen…

Well, like Langston Hughes, I also like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.
(Don’t we all?)
I like to ask questions, learn lots, read, listen, and think about life.
I like a nice piece of jewelry for a Christmas present,
Or CDs -- U2, Shakira, or Regina Spektor.
I guess being a thirty-year old Cuban-American doesn’t make me not like
the same things other folks like who are other races, other ages.
But like Langston Hughes, I’ve also got to ask:
Will my page be colored that I write?

If my page must be colored, then let it be colored
in a rainbow of riotous red, spunky orange, joyous yellow, and glittering green.
Then wash this page in calming blue, forgetting not the violet.
Let my page overflow
With all the colors that make me, me –
All the colors that make me, you.
Me, you, you me –-- we all color this page called life.
That’s human.
Although sometimes you don’t want your colors to mix with mine,
nor do I often want to mix mine with yours.
But we do, that’s true!
As I learn from you,
I guess (I hope!) you learn from me ---
Although you are younger
and somewhat more attention-deprived.

This is my page for English I.

My students will be turning in their versions next week. I can't wait to read them! :)

Project 365: (Wo)Man's best friend.

This afternoon I took my cat Tigger to the vet because he hadn't eaten in almost 24 hours and I was really worried something bad was wrong with him. I had also noticed something looked off about his mouth, but I couldn't put my finger on it (figuratively speaking, of course). Thank goodness my cat's vet agreed to see us right away. And after just a brief examination, he pinpointed the root of the problem -- a tooth infection! So my poor little kitty got two injections -- an antibiotic and a painkiller -- and he's got to report back next week for a dental cleaning.

Thank goodness he's okay. It's funny how our pets really do become like children to us. I guess that's why we call them "furbabies." And as much as I love dogs, Tigger will always hold a special place in my heart. He is definitely this (wo)man's best friend.

picture taken of Tigger on the trip home from the vet while he was napping

Project 365: I miss Tokyo.

In April of 2008, the boyf and I spent a week in Tokyo, Japan. It was a last-minute trip, literally planned just days before we left. The plane tickets were actually bought about 48 hours or so before our departure (!). But it was the trip of a lifetime -- a trip I hope to someday recreate -- and sometimes I have to pinch myself when I recall a certain memory from my time in Japan. It's so utterly unlike anywhere else I've ever been that it almost feels unreal that I was ever there at all.

Here is one of the pretties I picked up during my stay. Japan is a must for any toy fanatic. The boyf and I are taking an empty suitcase next time we visit Tokyo just so we can go shopping. ;)

P.S.) I lost my voice from all the coughing I've been doing, oh noes! Do you know of a good remedy to recover my voice? I kind of need it since I'm a teacher... Please let me know if you do. Thanks!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Project 365: Girly girl.

So I got this pretty little headband from today! I took advantage of their sale to get the headband I'd been lusting over for some months now. It's my first headband and I have a feeling it won't be my last. Their headbands tend to be a bit more expensive than your average headband, but they really do feel quality. Normally I can't wear headbands all day because they give me a headache. But my new headband is so soft that I could probably sleep in it no problem.

It's funny -- I wasn't always a girly girl. Then I hit my 30s and all of sudden I'm really into hair and makeup and clothes. Well, better late than never! :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Project 365: Play Time

I don't know if this happens to the rest of you cat owners out there, but my cat Tigger seems to have a sixth sense when it comes to my changing the bedsheets. As soon as I so much as take off one corner of the bedsheets, he appears in the doorway with an inquisitive look in his eye. If I stop what I'm doing and just stare back at him, he will usually walk away. But if I continue removing the bedsheets, then he leaps forth and pounces on my bed, seeing this an initiation for play time.

This is Tigger posing mid-play from earlier today. I got two scratches on my right hand for my troubles, but I don't mind. Play time with Tigger happens to be fun for both of us. (:


Project 365: Feeling sick, sick, sick.

Apologies for not posting yesterday. My cold took a turn for the horrible last night. On top of the head/nose congestion and sneezing that's been plaguing me all week, I started coughing and feeling really bad chest congestion and throat ache. So I tucked myself in early, knocking back two NyQuil for good measure, and slept a whopping 12 hours (!!!).

The good news is that I'm feeling better today. I think it's thanks to my sleep marathon, and also to the NyQuil and the Vicks tissues I've been using.

No big plans for tonight other than maybe catching a movie with the boyf. Tomorrow I plan on doing some grading and finishing a book I've been reading, Shiver. What are your plans for the weekend?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Project 365: Emergency Froyo!

Don't you hate when your day starts off great -- you're running late but you get to work on time anyway, you're having a good hair day even though you barely had a chance to run your comb through it, you really like your outfit, and everyone's smiling and nice to you, but then just one little annoying thing happens and it sours the rest of your entire day?

Welcome to my day. Everything I mentioned above was true of my morning. But then one of my students (yes, from my hellish 4th period class) decided to mouth off to me after I took away his cell phone, and that was that. I made his mom come in to the office to pick up the cell phone, and I used the opportunity to inform her that her son was failing. Oh, and he tried to blame his failing ON ME because -- get this -- he thinks he should be excused from all the work he missed when he absent due to an outdoor suspension. Apparently I'm supposed to award outdoor suspensions with A's. Who knew?

So basically he's a real class act, that kid.

What hurts is that I've tried to look past the tough attitude, that hard outer shell, ignoring the other teachers who said he was a "punk" or "unmanageable, "impossible to teach." I'd never had any real problems with him before today. And it just crushes me, when I think I can be the one teacher who makes a difference, only to have something like this happen. It's so upsetting.

It ruined the rest of my day. I tried to put on a brave face for my 6th and 8th period classes, but I know my tone was off. I wasn't my usual chipper self. Hence the emergency froyo run my ever-loving boyf took me on after work. We went to Menchie's, where I proceeded to have a chocolate-vanilla-peanut-butter explosion of a froyo. He had a tart and fruit-filled concoction (he's not so much into chocolate and peanut butter, alas). Needless to say, the emergency froyo really helped! Nothing like a little sugar to sweeten an otherwise sour day.

P.S.) I still need one more participant for Pay it Forward. If you would like to receive a hand-made something from me in 2011, click here! :D

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Project 365: Shorty's

I can't claim credit for today's picture. Ricky (le boyf) took it using my phone. It's of the roof inside one of our favorite BBQ restaurants, Shorty's. And as you can see, they looove to decorate every square inch of their fine establishment with kitschy, Americana-esque tchotchkes. Even the roof.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Out with the old (Lolcats), in with the new (Project 365)!

In the interest of keeping things fresh, I decided to put my Lolcat feature to rest. This was a tough decision because I feel like I've been posting a Lolcat every week since I started this blog two years ago. I was even sad to remove the link on my navigation bar! But lately I just haven't found myself inspired to hunt for the perfect Lolcat picture. I've been more interested in my latest feature, Project 365.

If you haven't been reading my blog lately, I've made the goal to take a picture every day for all of 2011 and post them here, on my blog. I hope that I'll be able to achieve this goal!

In the meantime, you can still peruse my Lolcat gallery, which can be found here. And before I close, here is one of my favorite Lolcats, which I originally posted on November 9, 2008.

Thanks for keeping up with my weekly Lolcat updates! I hope you've enjoyed them as much as I have. :)


Project 365: Accio chocolate!

If today was an ice cream flavor, it would be Rocky Road, because it started out rocky but ended up sweet. Literally! First of all, I missed work yesterday because of this pesky head cold that is currently making my head feel like it weighs ten tons. I should have missed again today, because I wasn't feeling much better. BUT, I decided to go anyways, because I felt bad missing two days in a row.

And so off to work I went with my stuffy, stuffy head. At least my first class of the day, Period 2, was well-behaved and orderly. This cheered me up. But then my second class, Period 4, decided to act up. I gave them warning after warning, until I reached my breaking point. Then I decided to let them finish the last two pages of the class reading on their own, followed by a pop quiz, AND THEN they had to put their heads down on their desks and sit quietly for the last five minutes of class. Ugh. I hate when I have to resort to measures like these, but when students decided to act like little beasts, it's up to me to tame them.

I was wary about my last two classes of the day, but thank the fairies, they were great. One of the kids in my last class even came bearing a gift for me!!!! He brought me a chocolate wand from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You can see it in the picture below.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

It starts with you... Pay it forward!

I was inspired by my bloggy friend Rasha to participate in the Pay it Forward campaign. What it boils down to is basically this:
Pay it forward 2011. I promise to send (or deliver) something handmade to the 1st {5} people who leave a comment. They must in turn post this and send something they made to the 1st {5} people who comment on their status. The rules are that it must be handmade by you and it must be sent to your 5 people sometime in 2011. It can be big or small, you don't get to specify what I send to you. :) Ready... Set... GO!
I thought this was the most creative idea I'd ever heard, so I am going to take part in it, too. The first five people who comment either on this blog post or on my latest status update on my Facebook page will receive something handmade from me. Leave your comments below if you'd like to participate, along with an email address where I can contact you! :)

And thanks again to Rasha for the inspiration. You rock, girl!

UPDATE: I'm now up to 4 volunteers for Pay it Forward! That means I need JUST ONE MORE volunteer. Will be you?



Project 365: TOMS

Today's picture is a bit blurry, a bit off-center. No matter -- it still shows off my new favorite shoes, silver TOMS. I love these shoes because they literally mold themselves to my feet. A perfect fit. And best of all, for each pair of shoes you purchase, TOMS donates a pair of shoes to a child in need. So these are clearly shoes with heart.

And it doesn't hurt that they're extremely cute, either!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Project 365: Mola

Today's photo is one of my favorite pillows. Yes, that fearsome lion you see below is a pillow. It's also a mola, a type of design made by the natives in Panama, where my boyf lovingly bought it for me.

I keep it near me when I sleep because it makes me feel safe somehow. As though he was a spirit guide of sorts.

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Project 365: Bright Lights...

I decided to take a cue from a few bloggy friends and participate in Project 365, which means I'll be posting a picture every day for 2011.

Here's my first one, taken by my iPhone out of a 5th floor apartment window in Hallandale, FL.

I call it "Bright Lights, Dusty Window." ;)

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I resolve to be a better me.

Happy New Year!

Okay, I know what you're thinking. Resolutions are sooo last year. But that's the funny thing about resolutions -- we make 'em, forget about 'em, and when the new year is around the corner again, all of a sudden we're eager to make new ones.

Such is life.

Even though resolution-making is a vicious, vicious circle, it's fun to make new ones all the same. Maybe it's because I have a secret dare-devil complex. *shrugs*

This year, though, I decided to give my resolutions a different spin, if you will. Instead of making promises I know I'm going to break, I am going to try to make resolutions that I will actually enjoy accomplishing. In other words, I resolve to be a better, happier me. And what better way to be a better person than to enjoy the process?

So without further ado, here are my resolutions for 2011...

1. write a book!
Yes, this was originally my plan for November and NaNoWriMo. No, I didn't get around to finishing my novel. But the bare bones of the plot are here (in my head) and I resolve to have it written by the end of 2011. I'm looking forward to my summer vacation because I will have two whole months to focus on it. (Yes, you can be jealous now.)

2. be healthier!
Instead of making the same resolution I know I will always break (i.e., work out!), I resolve instead to encourage healthier habits in my life. This means no more late nights Facebooking, getting plenty of sleep, drinking more water, and eating more organic foods. If I happen to join a gym or start running again, great. But I won't beat myself up if I don't do it either.

3. stop taking my friends/family for granted!
2010 taught me a tough lesson -- don't take your loved ones for granted, because they're not going to be around forever. From now on, I resolve to enjoy every single second I have with my friends/family. I will say I love you more often and hug a whole lot more.

4. budget my time more wisely!
I resolve to stop procrastinating so much, especially when it comes to work. Too many Sundays I've burned the midnight oil trying to get those last minute grades in. Enough. I resolve to budget my time more wisely so that I can enjoy my weekends as God intended.

5. be more assertive!
I'm more of a listener than a talker, more of an observer than a doer. It's time I flipped the tables a bit. Time I started talking more and doing more. I think this will make me more confident in the long run, even if I ruffle some feathers along the way (including my own).


What are your resolutions for 2011? Here are last year's resolutions.

P.S.) This post was written in advance. Right now I'm busy kissing my boyf and swigging some champagne and/or grapes in honor of the new year. So leave a message at the sound of the tone. BEEP!