Sydney, Australia



Sydney is probably the one of the most popular places when you think of Australia.  I didn't get a chance to visit it during my first trip, so my friend and I made sure to add some more to our to-do list.  We spent 2 days driving up from Melbourne in the chilly weather.  Seemed quite perfect because the day we had to spend exploring the city was the PERFECT weather!  It was bright and sunny with a slight breeze to keep us cool.  Most of the day was spent at the Taronga Zoo, then we made our way around the harbor for pictures of the Sydney Harbor Bridge and Opera House.  I loved the little area for seating and drinking to hang out with friends.  (Probably a little expensive for my taste because I don't drink much and it's like double the prices of here in America.)  It was a great atmosphere!  Check out all the pictures!











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Blogging Books




I've been tweaking around with my blog lately, especially with the layout and organizing the flow of everything.  I've been blogging on some type of platform since 2002, right before graduating from high school.  Back when it was Open Diary, Xanga, Livejournal, Tumblr, Blogspot, and so on!  I seemed to have stumble upon this adventure completely on my own and it just grew from curiosity to an obsession.  At times I feel sort of lost on the flow of everything.  Lately I've been looking into books for some inspiration.  (I recently purchased A Beautiful Mess, which I will review in a later post.)

1. Blog Inc., by Joy Deangdeelert Cho - This is probably the one I've been eyeing the most.  Her website is already inspirational!  I love being able to look over the table of contents and see that she covers nearly every aspect of making your blog successful.  I'm all about organized!  Plus, I'm a sucker for the look of this book.  I can't wait to read the chapter titled "Finding Your Voice and Niche."  I always feel I struggle with this and often change up my blog and even the name!  I'm actually surprised I've kept up with this one for nearly a year now!

2. The Blogger's Survival Guide, by Lexie Lane - First of all, how cool is her name!  Just screams cuteness! (Even though it's a pseudonym/blogger name, I still love it.)  This was co-written with Becky McNeer.  Again, another book to help anyone get organized.  One aspect of blogging that I know very little of is the legal side.  I look forward to reading the chapter all about the legal stuff regarding blogs.  Plus, there are two chapters on traffic, which I never really understood how to really get your name out there.

3. Graphic Design Thinking, by Ellen Lupton - (Co-written with Jennifer Cole Phillips) I never took any graphic design or graphic art class in high school or college.  Well, does pottery and photography really count?  I was a little late in the game to get interested in graphic arts during school.  I was more interested in getting my education degree, which I don't regret doing!  (I love my job.)  I wish I had the opportunity (and money) to take these classes for my own interest.  However, I'm a great self-learner! (The teacher in me.)  If I don't have a guide, I tend to skip around necessities and do things the hard way.  I love how this book starts of with basics and helps inspire you to keep growing.  I love going back to the basics with everything, even though I may have completed the harder skills.  It just makes the process easier!  When I'm completed I feel I truly understand all aspects and become more confident.

4. Cultivating Your Creative Life, by Alena Hennessy - Another inspirational book with the creative aspect in mind.  I love that this book is all about getting inspired to create your own "life."  There's even little activities for you to do in this book.  When I'm in a creative rut, I love to get inspiration from somewhere else.  This book is seems great to help get the inspiration from yourself!  It also seems like a great "pusher," in the aspect of encouraging you to keep going and get out of your rut.

5. Blogging For Creatives, by Robin Houghton - This seems like a great book for setting up your blog on the two best platforms: Wordpress and Blogger.  This would have been quite helpful when I was setting up this blog.  I thought Wordpress was SO foreign and I would never get it.  (This is in my "I'm only sticking to Livejournal!" phase.)  I love how Wordpress and Blogger/Blogspot seems to reach out to a larger community.  I'm looking forward to understanding more of the foundation of this platform.  Plus, the later chapters seems to provide steps to keep moving forward once you've established your blog!  (Something I need constant motivation/inspiration!)

There seems to be tons and tons more books related to these!  I'm going to have to start off with just one or few at a time.



Do you have a favorite "blogging book" that you find inspirational?  Any other inspirational books?

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Gold Lover


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I'll be showcasing things that have inspired me throughout the week, just in time for the weekend for you!  Let me know what you think of any of these items and share what has inspired you throughout the week!


There have been several things that I've been finding inspirational or just simply loving lately.

1.) I've been addicted to changing my desktop wallpaper every month with a new one that has a calendar!  This helps me out because I'm horrible at remembering the date but knowing what day of the week it is.  (This is a bit odd because I write the date on my board every morning for my students.)  Plus, this is a nice little update each month.  Design is Yay! has been my favorite "go to" for these wallpapers lately.

2.)I love some DIYs for any holiday, mainly because I can use them in my classroom.  These are a nice little treat that I think I'm going to have my students make for themselves and our Reading Buddies. We used to do orange ones and make Jack-o-Lanterns, but these are way cute!

3.) First of all, loving all the gold lately.  (Yep, I'm that girl that waited to get a new Gold iPhone 5s for 3 weeks and finally got it.) The notebooks on Sugar Paper are just adorable and fun!  I particularly like the gold polka dots and stripes.

4.) Isn't this camera  strap absolutely divine?  Bloom Theory have tons and tons of wonderful camera straps.  (A bit pricey for my liking, but a girl can dream!)  You can definitely let your personality pop with these!

5.) Who wants a store bought card when you can get unique cards like the ones on Dotted Design?  I particularly like this one! If I've got the time and think ahead, I either make my cards or find the perfect one on Etsy!  Such a variety on that site!



What has been inspiring you lately?

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Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia


With my second trip to visit my lovely friend in Melbourne, VIC, we decided we had to do something new for us this trip.  I suggested a trip to Sydney since it is one of the more popular "tourist" spots.  One of the big things we got to do is visit their zoo.  (She felt it would be much better than the zoo in Melbourne.)  It was completely massive!  We didn't get to thoroughly see everything they had to offer at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney.  What I loved about this zoo that I didn't get to experience in other zoos is the enclosed structures that you can walk through with the animals.  I got to get so close to the kangaroos and emus! We also decided to splurge a bit and get to take a picture with a koala! You get a picture with it and get to take your own pictures as well.  Definitely a well spent experience for me!






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FL Blogger Conference, 2013


Yesterday I went to my first ever conference.  When I think of a conference, I think of a group of people dressed up in costumes and superfans of some comic book, television show, movie, characters, or something.  I first heard about the Florida Blogger Conference from my friend, Victor at Hortipopia.com, when he went last year.  I was so intrigued and grateful that he shared the knowledge he learned that year.  I made sure he kept me informed of the next conference!

Fast forward to yesterday, September 20th, 2013, my first conference! I didn't know what to expect because this is completely new to me.  I went in with the expectation to just be exposed to new ideas!  I was blown away with all the knowledge it provided.  I would love to go into great detail of all the information I got from the speakers, but that would take forever and defeat the purpose of this post.

Instead, let's keep it short and sweet!

Top Ten Things I learned from the 2013 Florida Blogger Conference:


  1. ASK!  You never know what you can get/achieve if you don't ask.  The worst that could happen is nothing will come of it or you'll get a "No."  Either way, you don't lost anything.

  2. Business Cards are actually functional!  I never had them before for my blog and I was discouraged on ordering some.  I thought I would never share them with anyone, being the shy person that I am.  I was wrong! You get the information to check out someone later when you have the time.  I've seen some great networking right in front of me and the business card made the best impact on exchanging your information.

  3. Even if something doesn't appeal to you right away, you may end up being completely intrigued! I was exposed to a lot of ideas with several speakers that I didn't know if I would sit and listen to.  The taglines to each session may not have caught my attention, but I'm grateful I gave them a chance.  I definitely learned plenty of new things all day! J from J's Everyday Fashion was a personal fave!

  4. Think of your blog as your business, as your brand!  I don't have intention of making money with my blog.  However, it still should be thought of as a business.  Even if I want to just spread the word, brand myself, network, and so on.

  5. Even if you don't have a buddy, you can easily make them!  My friend went alone last year and had tons of fun.  I usually don't do anything new without a buddy, so I'm glad he allowed me to tag along.  However, I feel that even if I went alone, I still would have had the same amount of fun.

  6. Full Sail is actually nice.  We had the event at Full Sail University and I never used to think anything of it, mainly because my higher education consisted of being an Education Major (not their targeted audience). It actually is nice and welcoming.  A great space to have the event.

  7. Ford is so much more than a car.  The speaker Karen Untereker (@unterekless) had great insights of all that you can do with social media and made Ford seem like something more than a car brand. Great presentation!

  8. Bloggers do some crazy things! Did you hear about that guy who sold his last name? Jason Headsetsdotcom, that guy, was a great speaker!  He had so many odd ideas, but he made them work! It's amazing of all the things you can do when you're motivated! Plus, he had on a great shirt that I want to get to wear when I'm teaching!

  9. Bloggers are friendly and very encouraging.  I got to meet an online friend in person and so many new people. (BTW, check out Yelle at Tender-Roots.com!)  Even the speakers were easily attainable to talk with outside of the sessions.  I'm very timid when it comes to sharing my blog, but people genuinely were interested.

  10. ASK ASK ASK! I have to reiterate that enough to anyone and everyone! (Even in my classroom.)  You never know what is out there.  You never know who/what can help you.  You never know what you can get out of something if you don't ask.

I definitely got out of my comfort shell yesterday!  I love hearing all the speakers talk about their journeys through blogging, branding, social media, and more!  There's so much I want to do with my blog now! If you want to read more, check out the hashtag #flblogcon13 on Twitter!

BONUS! Check out this cool photobooth picture, courtesy of Snap! Studio Booth.


How about you?  Ever been to a conference before? What was your experience like?
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Pie Face



Let's talk about the  BEST place to get a pie.  Pie Face is this yummy place to get veggie/meat pies, sweets, and more.  I'm ALL about the veggie pie there!  It's full of flavor and easy to eat on the go, especially if you're spending the day walking around the city like I did.  This is mainly in Australia, I think more on the eastern side.  But... they finally put one in New York City!  A little closer, but not close enough for me. The first thing I ate when I got back into Australia the second time was eat Pie Face for brekky!
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Hosier Lane


Hosier Lane is a place in the city of Melbourne where the art is constantly changing.  (There was a entry way that had the Joker on it for a while, but was changed just days before I got there.)  I remember seeing it last time I visited Melbourne, but it's obviously transformed!  We even got to see someone working on a section while we were there.  It's interesting to see how strangers can collaborate to make something amazing.  My friends and I had a blast taking pictures!





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Visiting Melbourne, VIC, Trip #2


I was fortunate enough to visit my friend who lives in Melbourne, VIC, Australia for the second time.  This time I got 3 straight weeks with her.  It was lovely seeing the city all over again.  I pretty much saw everything we did last time, but we definitely got more time to take it all in. It was awesome because my friend took all my pictures for me and she has a great eye! It's a beautiful city with so much culture.  Here are some pictures when we got to go up the Skydeck and see the city (again).





Have you been to Melbourne?  Any city in the world you love to enjoy seeing over and over again?
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I'm off to Australia in 5 Weeks!


In about 5 weeks I'm off to Australia for a 7 week vacation!  I'll be spending 4 weeks in Perth, WA and 3 weeks in Melbourne, VIC.  I'm so happy & grateful to be spending it with my loved ones there! I went there 2 summers ago and can't wait to spend more time there.  Granted I'm going during their winter season, but I still quite enjoy what the country has to offer.

It really is a BIG country.  I always find this image funny because when I would explain Australia to a (geographically challenged) friend.  She was so confused that it was as big as it was in land mass.  We even sat down and used a map scale to measure the width of the country and we found it was a thousand miles or so smaller than the U.S.

You always hear the most random and bizarre things about Australia.  I love when my friend tells me of all the random things she does/gets into while in Melbourne.  I've visited other places before and every one of them I felt like a tourist (as I probably should).  However, when I spent a month in Australia (OZ) last time, I felt different.

It's a long trip, but so worth the 30+ hours travel time (for me).  You should seriously consider visiting one day!


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List Item #77: Run a Marathon


With all the fun charity marathons out there, I've decided to add "Run a Marathon" to my list. My friends and I had been talking about doing one for a while, and this fun one fell right into our laps! If you're not familiar with the Color Me Rad 5k, you run and at certain points volunteers through powdered color (and ever squirt colored water) on you!  It was so much fun!  I'm not even a runner and I thoroughly enjoyed myself!  Check out all the pictures and the video at the end!






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All Fired Up!


All Fired Up! is this wonderful place in Winter Park, FL, and I'm sure you've got something similar near you.  You go in and pick out an already made pottery piece that has a price on the bottom.  The price includes everything including all the paints you use and firing the piece at the end.  They tell you all about the paints and how to use the brushes, sponges, and stencils.  They even have these pens that make it easy for writing.  Once you're done, you turn in your painted pieces to get fired and they're ready for pick up within a week.

I kept it simple and not too fancy with the pottery piece and all the paints.  I didn't need to make anything, but my friend and I went because we had a Groupon where we only had to pay 50%.  I decided to make a mug for my classroom, which will probably be used to hold pencils and pens on my desk.




I love the end result!!  I have to say it was so much fun making, decorating, and using my creativeness.  The best thing was the atmosphere!  There were people of all ages creating something.  I loved these lovely, old women who sat near us with their wine.  They were happy and merry, just enjoying each other's company.  I highly recommend if you're in Central Florida (near Orlando) to go to All Fired Up! for a wonderful experience.
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Lacey Dress



  
Outfit Details - Lacey Dress: I Heart Ronson at JCP,  Belt: Target

Have you been to JCPenny lately? Or should I say JCP?  With the "rebranding" comes changes and I have to say they upgraded!  I saw the LookBook and was tempted to go and have a shopping spree, but I need to save for my upcoming trip to Australia. (Look out for an upcoming post about the LookBook.)

Seriously, I'm such a sucker for lace dresses.  I can't tell you how many lace dresses I've bought in the past.  It makes me feel girly and fun.  I love the creamy color of this and how they incorporated the chambray in the collar down through the buttons. It think it gives it more of a casual feel, which is more my style.  I paired it with a color (spring) color skinny belt from Target, which I use for a couple of dresses and tops. And, of course, always some curl in my hair!  A nice, simple way to look somewhat dressed up for an Easter meal with the family.
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Mood Board: Spring, 2013


It feels like Spring is constantly teasing me in Florida!  It's warm for a few days, gets chilly right before and during my Spring Break, and then it's back to warmth when I go back to work.  I'm desperately wanting the warmer time of the year to come back!  I've decided to create a mood board because Spring is just around the corner!


Color Palette: I've been loving the bright, neon yellow-green color.  I got two tops recently with this neon trend.  Some of my friends say it's not for them, but I love the pop of color!  It's fun and bright!  I've also been loving pairing grays with some neon, mainly a bright green.  (I love my sweater with these colors!)

Polka Dots: The layout, plenty of tops & dresses, my bedding, and anything & everything will most likely have polka dots!  I think it's just a fun style and makes anything ordinary seem more fun and playful.  (1, 2)

Bebas Neue: Font this font through several blogs.  I love how clean and simple it is.  I had to incorporate it in the new layout! You can get it here!

Peonies: I was never much of a flower kind of girl growing up.  I remember a boy in high school asked me to Prom (who I wanted to go with) and gave me flowers.  It made me a little uncomfortable because I never really got them before and I got attention from classmates.  However, lately I've been loving them!  I used to love tulips and normally adore daisies.  Peonies are a new flower to pop up in my likings! They just look so lovely! (1)

Spring Fashion: I'm usually more of a monochrome kind of girl when it comes to fashion.  I am a creature of habit and usually just buy gray, white, and black pieces.  However, I've been loving the bright colors in Spring fashion.  Especially when you pair them with monochrome, gives you a pop of Spring!

Beach: Seriously, I've been wanting and waiting to just sit on the beach and relax in the sun!  I miss the salt & sand in my hair.  I usually go by myself because my friends are busy with work and life, but I still love it!  (1)

Lauren Conrad: Since there isn't much to do outside and I don't want to go out and spend my money, I've been staying in for most of my break.  What have I been doing?  Beside being a nerd online, I've been rewatching The Hills.  Oh, the drama on that show!  It makes me miss seeing how the girls were doing in the fashion world.  I wish they would've aired the show Lauren filmed about creating her fashion line, but they thought it wouldn't "appeal to audiences of MTV" (because of no drama).  Apparently, she can do no wrong in my book.  Bit of a girl crush.  Love her Beauty & Style books, her line at Kohl's, her Paper Crown line (too expensive for my budget though), and more.

What have you been obsessing about lately?  Any inspiration?


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Favorite Spring 2013 Fashion Trends

Hello Spring Fashion!  There are many Spring trends happening on the runways and in stores lately.  I love them and want to experiment with them into my own personal style, however, I'm saving up for my upcoming Australia trip.  (Need to save, save, save, and resist!)  There are two trends that I will definitely invest in this Spring.  I'm loving the Black & White trend (always & forever) and, surprisingly, the Cutouts/Peekaboo trend.  There are so many others that are fun for Spring.  (IE. Statement Glasses, Bold Stripes, and even the youthful Quirky Print Shorts.)



Black & White Spring Trend, this one is probably my most favorite!  I've always gravitated towards blacks and whites because it never goes out of style and fun to accessorize. I LOVED Jason Wu's take on this trend.  All of the looks were sleek & chic! A little WAY out of my budget with several thousands of dollars for each piece.  However, this is an easy look to do on a bargain because you can find this anywhere.

I love this trend because, for me, it never goes out of style.  You always look put-together and stylish with this trend.  (Does Black ever go old?)  My friend has a wardrobe of nothing but Black and White.  Once she decided to give a little color in her life, she realized the pop of color can go with anything in her wardrobe.  It's so versatile and you can easily play it up or down. I love, love, love to play with accessories with Black & White.  You can either stay on trend or be adventurous with color, patterns, and numerous styles.  (Remember Eva Mendes in the white Dior dress at the Golden Globes in 2009?  That turquoise statement necklace with it was amazing!)

This look can easily be attainable on a budget and can probably be found anywhere!  Check out the very similar Calvin Klein at Macy's for waaaaay cheaper!  (Slimming look too!)  I'll definitely be finding some statement pieces with this trend!


Spring Cutouts/Peekaboo Trend. WOW, those two looks from Sass & Bide and Versace!  Love their looks!  Completely unattainable with my "checkbook," but don't they look amazing?  Definitely a style that is a statement on its own.  I would definitely style this trend less and keep the focus on the dress/top. This trend is a little more adventurous for me and I'm still skeptic of investing in this.  However, if you're a girl who likes to go for the trend or isn't afraid to stand out, this is the look for you.

I love the Cutout look at NastyGal.  (You can easily search this trend by going to their site and searching "Cutout."  You'll get so many options to choose from.)  Definitely more affordable and more fun. I love the one on the far right.  The pyramid detailing reminds me a bit of the Sass & Bide style.  The color on the far left is similar to Versace's, but not as detailed.  They even have amazing prints with cutouts.

What's your favorite Spring 2013 Trend?  Looking forward to try anything out?
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