Friday, August 9, 2013

Shark Week: My Top 5 Sharks

So this year's Shark Week (one of my favorite times of year!) is winding down. In order to commemorate another successful year of watching sharks swim in slow motion, I'm going to count down my Top 5 Favorite Sharks. Because, let's face it, when it comes to a lot of my interests, they're the same as any seven year-old boy: dinosaurs, video games, space, and sharks.

#5. Whale Shark

I love whale sharks. Not only because of their massive size, but because they're so docile. When people think of huge sharks, they always think of Jaws and white sharks, but in reality in the biggest sharks are gentle giants. I love the pattern of their skin, I love that they're filter feeders, and it's one of my life's goals to be able to swim with one someday.

#4. Tiger Shark

You can take your white sharks and your bull sharks. If I had to pick my top deadly shark, it would be the tiger. Not only are they excellent super predators, but the markings on their skin are beautiful. They also predate on birds, turtles, and just about anything else they can eat, which is super interesting. I even love the shape of their teeth.

#3. Oceanic Whitetip Shark

I think this shark has the potential to be the scariest. If you get dumped out in the middle of the ocean, it isn't going to be a white shark that's coming for you - it's gonna be this guy. These are the ones who pick off shipwreck survivors. Beyond that, I think they're really pretty! I love the color on them - which is the same reason I love black tips too, but they just weren't pretty and awesome enough to make the top five.

#2. Blue Shark

Blue sharks are probably, hands down, the most beautiful and adorable sharks ever! Their color is just amazing and I love their big round eyes. For a long time, they were my number one shark just because of how beautiful they were. I love that they're tenacious too. These guys are bottomless pits - they literally gorge themselves on food to the point where they'll throw up. They're the binge-eaters of the ocean and that cracks me up.

#1. Great Hammerhead Shark

This is the most wicked looking shark in the ocean. I love the shape of its dorsal fin - it has that perfect curve to it that just personifies "shark!" to me. I love all hammerheads, really. I like the little bonnet heads and the scalloped hammers. I think they just look so alien and interesting.

I would loooove to one day have the opportunity to swim with each of these. Sharks still have such a bad reputation, despite how much effort has been made to change that. Not only that, but they're targeted for their meat, fins, and just because they happen to eat the same fish we do (surprisingly, considering they live in the ocean...). So hey, Discovery Channel... if you ever feel like you'd like to add an armchair sharkologist blogger with a go-get-'em-attitude to your roster for next year, hit me up! You won't even have to pay me to get in the water with them.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I'm Back!

This spring and summer have been tumultuous to say the least. I graduated from Dalton State College in May and I also moved from Dalton, GA down to Covington. We left our apartment behind and have taken up residence in a 100+ year-old home that has been in the Future Hubs's home for decades. It took ages to get everything moved in and we've still been renovating and cleaning things up (the house had been vacant for years before we moved in). We went from a one-bedroom fully carpeted teeny apartment to a two-story multi-bedroom hardwood-floored home with a big yard and tons of antiques that have needed sorting through. Not to mention, it had zero functioning bathrooms and as of (hopefully) tonight, we'll finally have two. AND I've been working on planning my upcoming wedding. Not to mention trying to find a teaching job.

Needless to say, this blog regrettably fell by the wayside.

BUT now that most things have been squared away or whipped into functional and manageable states, I can finally sit back down at a computer and find the time for blogging.

I've thought about this blog a lot in the past few months, as I struggled to find the time to make an update. After a lot of consideration, my goal is to shape this into something meaningful. I'm not going to go out in dogged pursuit of brands or ads and adspace. I'm going to try not to obsess over inanity too much. I'm going to talk about the important stuff. I want this blog to be about what's important to me and what I'm experiencing in my life. So what does that mean?

Things I'm Going to Feature on This Blog:
+ My travels
+ My wedding
+ My experiences in this old house we've taken on
+ Food (cooking, growing, etc)
+ Weight loss and healthy living
+ History, culture, and politics
+ Teaching

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Marriage Equality

Today, the Supreme Court heard cases for whether or not to same-sex couples will be allowed to marry. What does that mean? It means today, the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the Unites Stated) will be deciding the constitutionality of California's ban on same-sex marriage (popularly known as "Prop 8"), as well as hearing the case for the legality of the Defense of Marriage Act. This is a huge step for our country, where historic decisions will undoubtedly be made.

There most likely won't be a decision until June and there are a variety of outcomes that could be reached. According to the NYTimes:
The court may say the Constitution requires all states to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. At the other extreme, the court may say the Constitution is silent on the question, leaving states free to allow or reject same-sex marriage. (There is no possibility that the court would ban same-sex marriage in places that choose to permit it.)

There are also intermediate possibilities. The court could adopt a rationale that would apply only to California along the lines of the one endorsed by the Ninth Circuit. It could adopt the "eight-state solution" suggested by the Obama administration. Or it could dismiss the case for want of standing, which would probably effectively allow same-sex marriages in California, the nation's most populous state.
I hope the SCOTUS makes the right decision - which is, by the way, make it clear once and for all that it's unconstitutional to ban same-sex marriage.

Monday, March 25, 2013


Hey everyone! I was lucky enough to be one of the many chosen by Influenster to receive March's Sugar 'n Spice VoxBox. YAY! I was so excited when I received the email and I'd been waiting impatiently for the box to arrive and last week, it finally did! I've been so busy with schoolwork and trying out these great products that I've only just now managed to grab a sec to sit down and post about it. I'm looking forward to continuing to test out these products they've sent and offer my own reviews on them, so keep a look out for my opinions on what they've sent me.

What have they sent me, you might ask? Well, here's a pic of all the goodies that showed up in the bright orange box.

As you can see, lots of good stuff! Here's a quick rundown:
+ Colgate Optic White toothpaste, mouthwash, and toothbrush.
+ belVita Breakfast Biscuits
+ Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer
+ Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel oil-controlling towelettes (and several coupons for more of their products - yay!!)
+ NCETRESSE all-natural sweetner.

I'll admit that I didn't know a lot about VoxBoxes prior to receiving one, I just knew that it seemed like an awesome opportunity. And I was right! What surprised me most was that all of the products I received to sample were full-sized! I was expecting a sample-sized/one-use sort of deal, so I was thrilled when everything came exactly as if I had purchased it at the store. I've busted into everything already and I'm loving it all. I'll be devoting a post per product in order to give them the highlights they deserve.

If you haven't yet joined in with Influenster, you really should! I've had a great time posting reviews and qualifying for various badges. You'll have to request an invite, but let me know if you're interested and I still have my 5 invites that I'd love to send out.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

*Dusts off cobwebs*

It's been AGES since I've posted here. I had every intention of wholeheartedly keeping up this blog, but then the holidays happened and I was swept off my feet for a while. Most notably by this very important fact:

I got engaged!!

The ring is blue topaz in the center, with smoky quartz as the outer stones, with a handful of little diamonds for extra sparkle. This ring is so absolutely perfect. My grandma has been quick to remind everyone that, ever since I was little, I liked to flounce around and refuse the notion of a diamond ring and declare I only wanted my birthstone (blue topaz). And look what I got! When I got older, I became an adamant supporter of not-diamond engagement rings after learning the not-really-a-tradition "tradition" behind them, so I was thrilled! It's so unique and colorful and that's exactly what I've always wanted.

Since then, I've been caught up in a whirlwind of wedding planning, honeymoon deciding, et various. Not to mention, I graduate college this May, so I've been steadily working on my final semester as well. We also move out of our current apartment in May, so home-hunting is also on the menu. Needless to say, with everything starting up all at once, I was a bit overwhelmed and this blog was completely forgotten about. BUT! I'm back and I intend on keeping this place up now that the smoke has cleared and I've found my pace with all these new changes gearing up.

So here's to more blog posts soon!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sandy Hook & Newtown CT

PIPPIN: I didn't think it would end this way.

GANDALF: End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.

PIPPIN: What? Gandalf? See what?

GANDALF: White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.

PIPPIN: Well, that isn't so bad.

GANDALF: No. No, it isn't.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sandy Hook

I wasn't going to offer any commentary of my own on the school shooting in Newtown, CT, but I want to get it off my chest. And then I want to offer a way to help.

I have seen countless posts across my Facebook feed and the internet where people have been posting pictures of themselves with their children. Discussing how much they love their children. Broadcasting to the world at large that their children are still alive and safe. Which is wonderful. And don't get me wrong; I understand loving your child. I understand the empathy and sympathy people have over the shooting in Newtown - it was a terrible tragedy. But what I find almost offensive is the showboating mothers have done concerning their children. Yes, your children are alive and that's great. But guess what? 20 children are not and you don't need to constantly remind the rest of the world that your child isn't one of those 20. Because it's not about you. If you love your child, then hug them, love them, be grateful for them. There's nothing wrong with that. But you don't need to post to everyone about how happy you are because you get to have your child for Christmas when 20 other families will not.

Pray for those families who lost not only those children, but the adults as well. Sympathize with a community who lost so many. Donate to charities, support organizations that wish to change the world so these things don't happen. Hold your children and your family close and thank God they're alive - but do it privately. Someone else's tragedy shouldn't be your microphone to talk about your love for your children.

And don't feast on the mass media culture. Don't sit and soak up the news coverage. Don't sit there and watch as news crews thrust distraught, traumatized, and grieving people in front of a camera and exploit them for the sake of a good interview and more information. And don't, please, use this as a political platform. Should we have stricter laws allowing people to gain access to firearms? Yes. Obviously. But don't take this tragedy and turn it into a soapbox. You don't like that we - as a multi-religion country - don't say a Christian prayer at the beginning of the school day? Too bad. Don't use this as a soapbox or a "told you so" point for that either.

Just feel sad. Just be grateful you're alive. Just pray for those who lost family and friends, pray for the world, pray for yourself. Donate to charities, spread the word on helpful organizations. Don't fear-monger, don't politicize, and don't brag about how you made it out of this unscathed while others did not.


To the Blog World and Anyone Else who Wants to Help,

Yesterday, tragedy struck so many of us in ways we did not foresee. An elementary school and small town in Connecticut was shattered by a mass shooting. We knew we wanted to help and we came up with this:

(thanks to Neely, Meg & Michelle for putting this together)

On Tuesday, December 18th, there will be a blogger day of silence. We will post the button and that’s it. Please try to not post anything else that day if possible.

We are also raising money that will go to an organization in the memory of this tragedy. The organization is called The Newtown Family Youth and Family Services.

Here is the official description of the support service we are donating to:

“Newtown Youth and Family Services, Inc. is a licensed, non-profit, mental health clinic and youth services bureau dedicated to helping children and families achieve their highest potential. NYFS provides programs, services, activities, counseling, support groups and education throughout the Greater Newtown area.


Please visit THIS PAGE to make your donation.

We can’t imagine how they must be feeling, especially this close to the holidays. We would love for you to spread the word on your own blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Let’s make a difference and use blogging in a positive way.

Thank you in advance for participating.

The Blog World

p.s. If you would like to, copy-paste and repost any part of this, please do. Share on.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Recipes | Roasted Chickpeas

Okay so... the other day I was craving a snack. Not to mention, I was severely lacking something crunchy in the salads that the BF and I had been eating lately. After rummaging through our pantry, I found a can of chickpeas I had forgotten about. After seeing Rachael Ray do it on her show and after reading via the internet how others had given it a go, I decided to make my own attempt at roasting some chickpeas.

Let me tell you; they were delicious!

And super simple! You literally just toss them in a little bit of olive oil, whatever seasonings you like, and pop them into the oven. Presto! Delicious, crunchy chickpeas that are great just to snack on, but they're also pretty tasty when you throw them into a salad. Even the BF approved, and he's a pretty picky eater.

Now, the recipe below is just for your basic roasted chickpeas with salt and pepper. Nothing fancy. You can add any variety though, to mix it up. Some cayenne, some garlic powder, whatever floats your boat.

Roasted Chickpeas
1 can of chickpeas, drained
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Salt and pepper to season

Preheat the oven to 400. Let your chickpeas drain for a while, until they're dry - the drier, then better. I just left mine in the colander for about half an hour, but if you're impatient, you can dry them with a rag. :) Next, toss the chickpeas in the olive oil, and then season with salt and pepper (I used a combo of white and black).

(Forgive my ugly pan and oven; the pan is a hand-me-down and the oven is the apartment complex's travesty!)

Once they're coated, pop them into the oven for about twenty minutes. Open it up and shake them up a little; move them around the pan so they get a nice even roast. Let them bake for another 10-15 minutes (until they're all a pretty, golden brown color) and then take them out of the oven. You can let them sit until they cool a little or, if you're like the BF and scorching temperature doesn't faze you, just go ahead and chow down!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Cookie Exchange

Wow, it's been far too long since I've posted here. This past week was the wrap-up of my semester, which meant finals, lots of studying, and little sleep, so I apologize for disappearing! The end of the semester tends to suck up all my energy and I just couldn't find the inspiration to blog. But no more! Today, I'm going to recap what I did this weekend, which was my BFF's annual Christmas cookie swap.

The Annual Christmas Cookie Exchange started back in 2009 and we've been doing it ever since. It typically takes place on the first Saturday of each December, but we held it on the second this year. We all make 3 dozen of whatever cookie(s) we like, bring them, swap them, and enjoy a delicious brunch while we all catch up. It's tons of fun!

We had a whole table full of all sorts of cookies this year, and the brunch was fabulous as always. Here are some pictures of the spread:

They all look delicious, don't they? I'm already on the look out for my cookie recipes for next year!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Dino Lingo - Language learning programs for kids

Gosh, it's been FOREVER since I've actually posted here. I don't really have an excuse other than the holidays coupled with the end of this semester has me super busy. I have some posts I want to get posted, but they just don't seem to be working with me. Hopefully I'll get back into the swing of things with this and just keep on keeping on.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and I hope you're all enjoying the lead up to Christmas.

I'm going to make this post as an opportunity to talk about Dino Lingo.

Disclaimer: I viewed these clips complimentary via Influenster.

For a brief period of time, I considered a major in Linguistics when I was trying to decide what direction I wanted to go with my schooling. While I ultimately decided on History, prior to switching schools, I had a declared minor in Linguistics. I've always been fascinated by languages and I've got a pretty decent knack for them, too. So when I was pointed in the direction of Dino Lingo, I decided to take a look, even though it's a program for kids and I a) am not a kid, b) do not have kids, and c) have no plans for kids any time soon.

I viewed European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese (just to see the differences, because I think it's interesting).

Knowing what I know about language development a acquisition, I think the program has a solid concept. It combines audio and visual learning. There isn't any English spoken, which I think is helpful. It's a little cheesy and sporadic - but that's what keeps a kid's attention. If I have children, I'm a solid supporter of making certain they're bilingual at the least, so I would definitely use this sort of program to help broaden their minds and learn another language.