Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas/Holiday Season!  We never thought to get a tree and were too occupied with moving here.  I got a little festive on Christmas Eve and used what he had around the house, recently used holiday hats, and donated decorations to make this gem!  It did its job.  Maybe next year we'll get an actual Christmas tree to decorate!

Getting my LOB on!

Photo Credits:  1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Today is the day I'm biting the bullet and chopping my hair off!  It has been nearly 9 months since my last chop, and now my hair is down to around my mid back.  I have pretty thick hair and I'm living in Kalgoorlie where it can get quite hot during the summer months (which I'm currently in).  My hair has become quite the hassle for me and I'm just ready to let it go.

I'm sticking with the Lob (Long bob) trend because I've been eyeing it for several months now.  Usually I enjoy my long hair until it gets annoying to maintain for me.  When I decide to cut it I like to wait and hold it off until I realize my mind hasn't changed.  Before it was easy because my dear friend Kara would cut my hair and knew exactly how I liked it.  Now I had to find someone completely new now that I'm living in Australia.

I like this trend because it's long enough to play around and style, but short enough to lighten my head.  Plus, if I want it long again I only have to wait a few short months to grow out because my hair grows pretty quickly.  (Luckily!)

These are the images I'll be bringing with me & what I'll talk about with my stylist:

  1. Focus on this length.
  2. Talk about adding layers, but not thinning my hair.
  3. Show how I like to normally style my hair.
  4. Another reference on my styling.

I'm a bit nervous because it's with someone new and in a new place.  Wish me luck!


Holiday Gift Guide for the Bloggers

Here's a quick Holiday Gift Guide for all your blogger friends out there!

Getting My Teacher Groove Back On

I'm currently super excited because I got to be back in the classroom after nearly 5 months of waiting and looking for work in Australia.  It took nearly 2 months to process my paperwork and get registered.  Once I got approved we found out we were moving from Perth and the schools were currently on school holidays while we waited to move.

After a short week of emails to schools in this area, I got a call back for the school within walking distance for me and got to get to work the day after I had a meeting.  They're very friendly and seem eager to let me work at the school.  (They called me later in the week to schedule 3 days this coming week!)  I had another meeting later this week with a school a little further away, but still within the area.  They instantly booked me for 5 days this month.

I'm hoping these two schools will keep me busy enough as other schools are nearly an hour drive away.  I've got my fingers crossed for full-time work next year, but I may have to sort my Visa situation before that's allowed and it may also take a while.  For now, I'm happy for the relief work and to be in the classroom again.  Looks like this move was an all around good choice!

Kalgoorlie, WA

We made it to Kalgoorlie, WA, but it sure was an interesting 6 hour drive from Perth.  Rain?  Apparently, a little out of the ordinary for this region.  Upon the first few days here we spent most of our time driving around Kalgoorlie, checking out the area and viewing places to stay.  Hopefully we'll find a place and be all moved in soon.  (Hotspotting my mobile is sucking up my data and I want my internet back!)

It was my birthday a few days ago and I was one lucky girl to receive a Go Pro Hero 3+!!  (I've been wanting one badly since we went on holiday to New Zealand.)  I have a fish eye adapter for my Canon DSLR, but that can get quite big carrying around and I'm too nervous to take that adventuring.  I love the wide angle lens, I was able to get a shot of the entire Super Pit!   Hopefully we get some new adventures on our plate and put this Go Pro to work!

Friday Inspiration: Foodie Blogs

As I've been waiting to move and start relief teaching, I've been home a lot during the day.  With all that time I've been keen to cook up some new dishes for lunch/dinner.  I'm not a cook, but I find I'm pretty good when I follow recipes that appeal to me.  Normally I would just search on Pinterest and pin my favorites to my boards (food, vegetarian, healthy, baking).  However, I've been finding myself reading foodie blogs regularly.

Here's a list of my Favorite Foodie Blogs:

1.  Damn Delicious is by far my most favorite foodie blog because it appeals to my cooking style the most.  Normally, when I'm working and busy throughout the day, I don't like to spend hours upon hours cooking.  (I'm just a lazy cook like that.)  These recipes are usually quick and simple, easy to follow.  It's amazing how the blogger was just a regular cook in the house, no formal training, just started off with a simple blog of organizing recipes into a full-time job.

2. Love & Lemons is a new one I have discovered.  For about 5-6 years I was a pescetarian, which meant I didn't eat meat besides seafood.  This was due to having stomach and indigestion issues.  One summer, while working at a summer camp, I decided to just eat from the salad bar and having tuna on my salads for protein.  I found myself feeling better and having no stomach issues, plus losing 12 pounds.  I kept up with it until recently, but I had to switch back.  This site mainly focuses on veggie dishes!

3. I am a Food Blog is a nice, clean blog with some interesting recipes. I love them because they're inspired by her favorite restaurant meals and what she has in her kitchen.  I enjoy this because I don't really plan my meals ahead of time and I usually try to figure out something based on what I'm craving or what I have available. Plus, she wrote a book!  And check out that spam recipe!  If you live or grew up in Hawaii like me, you've got a soft spot for spam.  (I know, I know, I don't try to think about it. Spam Musubit anyone?)

4. Minimalist Baker is a blog just for me!  It's goal is to provide recipes with 10 ingredients or less and about 30 minutes time!  This is great for cooks like me, beginners, or if you have a time crunch and need something quick.  (No more microwave meals people.) They also have a store that provides an cookbook, e-course in food photography, and more! I also love how they organized their recipes.

5. Tone It Up - Recipes, this is a bit of a cheat because it's not really a foodie blog. is mainly a fitness blog of Karena & Katrina, but they've also incorporated recipes.  I love their recipes because they focus on healthy recipes that help with weight loss or maintaining your weight.  They provide recipes for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner, but ALSO for cocktail drinks!  You can see the transformations from the community and see they definitely help to keep you looking and feeling healthy.

BONUS: The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle is a bonus because it doesn't focus on recipes for meals, but more about baking! Seriously, check out how she makes the cookies look so yummy and fun!  There was a time when I loved to experiment with baking, and I still enjoy it.  She has great basic tutorials and recipes to get the perfect sugar cookie or icing to help you make these.  (Her site even inspired me to take up a cake decorating class with my friend.)

What are your favorite Foodie Blogs?


List Item #61 - Get a Teaching Job

My very own first classroom with a "shining star" theme, I'm all about the fish now!

My class/home for several years in 3rd grade, Fishing for Knowledge!

As a child there would two things I'd always pretend to be, a pediatric doctor or a teacher.  Eventually I found myself setting up my stuffed animals, or conning my little brother, to play teacher.  I would make math worksheets and grade their work with red pen and stickers. I've gotten a few "Perfect Attendance" acknowledgements over the years and honestly enjoyed going to school.

When it was time for me to extend my education I went into nursing for the first two semester, then I realized I'm not good with science on that level, and very queasy when it came to blood.  I was not passionate about my learning at that time and went into nursing because it was what my mother wanted me to do.  Then one semester I decided, after a talk with a friend, to just try an Intro to Education course (and a few more education pre-requisites) to see if I would like it.

I ended up truly enjoying myself and feeling amazingly passionate about my education at this stage.  Even after an argument with my mom I went through with changing my major to Elementary Education, and she soon saw how determined and focused I was and eventually supported me.  All the courses were fun, engaging, and a true learning experience.  I never breezed through any of my education courses because I truly wanted to learn as much as I could.

Let's be honest, the MOST experience and knowledge you'll gain is from being in the classroom.  I had the best internship and a wonderful supervising teacher who encouraged me to do what I felt was right for the classroom and pushed me to do better than I thought I could.  I was nervous in the beginning of my internship, but I quickly felt completely comfortable leading the class.  She ensured me at how natural and passionate I was and that I should be confident in what I do.

After graduation I spent 2-3 years between substitute teaching, being a nanny/tutor for a family, and working at a summer camp.  Finally, I was hired as a temporary teacher to take over a maternity leave for two consecutive terms (half a school year).  This got my foot in the door into being hired through the county.  Then my supervising teacher got me an interview at my internship school for the next year, and I was hired as a 2nd grade teacher.  (I definitely feel like she got me hired because I felt so nervous during the interview and thought I bombed it.)

I spend the next 4 years teacher 2nd grade for a year and then moving to 3rd grade.  I was nervous about teaching 3rd grade in Florida because it was the start of standardized testing for students. This was where I was meant to be though.  I felt I could connect with the students at that age and create engaging lessons that properly challenged each individual.

Teaching is something I honestly feel is my true calling in life.  I have other hobbies and obsessions that often came and went, but my teaching passion has never went away and only grew stronger over the years.  I thought the pressure of standardize testing from the county and state level, but I always kept my spirits up and just focused on the students and their needs.

When our school celebrated Dr. Seuss Day, I'm in the blue wig in the back (center).

We decided to have a Character Themed Day with fun end of the year activities.

I volunteered to be in the dunk tank during our school's Fall Festival, my student dunking me.

Sometimes tests can be right and funny, love the way kids think sometimes!

Our winter themed bulletin, we did a unit on penguins.

My first class' pledge during Drug Free Week.


Relocated Stephanie Moves Again!

I've been living in Perth, WA for 4 months now and it's been real.  It's not that much different than my life back in Florida, with some minor changes.  I'm close to the beach and the winter has been cold, but mild cold compared to most places.  Very similar to my winters in FL.  I'm getting used to driving around the city and it really isn't that much larger (land driving wise) than Orlando.  I may not have as much as my daily shops, but I know where to go to get what I want now.  However, now it seems I shouldn't get too comfortable where I'm at and utilize my minimal Perth beach days while I can.

In just a few short weeks we're moving to Kalgoorlie, WA.  In comparison, Perth has a population of nearly 2 million and Kalgoorlie has a bit over 30, 000.  (Orlando has something like 2.1 million.)  I've mainly lived in bigger cities with the things I need at nearly any time I want. (Hello, 24 hr Walmart!)  This is going to be a bit of a change for me!  I'm going to have to get used to a small town lifestyle.  I'm hopeful that it'll be a good change for us, something new to experience.  I'm also very hopeful that I'll get some relief teaching work while I'm out there.  (Fingers crossed because I've been really missing being in the classroom.)

Friday Inspiration: Paper Crafts

Sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Don't you sometimes just enjoy spending an afternoon to yourself crafting away?  As a teacher, I've loved finding crafts and incorporating them into the classroom.  Then I moved on to share them as little trinkets attached to gifts or letters.  Here are some of the crafts I've been eyeing lately and would love to try soon.

Where do you find your paper crafts, or crafts in general, inspiration?  Pinterest is my favorite!


The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner was such a fantastic read!  Normally books start off a bit slow for me and it takes a few to get into it.  Not this book, instantly you're plummeted into this future world and left with questions that constantly come to mind.  What I like most is that the questions you have are the same questions the main character, Thomas, is thinking.  It wasn't like you were there with him, it was like you were experiencing everything as him.

5 Reasons Why I Love this Book:

  1. I love a book of a different world that leaves you asking more and more questions.  There's so much more to learn about the new world.  I'm a big questioner as in always asking questions to learn more. I love learning more and more about this world.  
  2. I love the ending of the first book answers all your questions and ignites even more questions.  Obviously setting up for the next book, but it feels like a whole new book is coming next, not just a continuation.
  3. There's more in the series!  I'm such a series sucker because there's just more and more to know, I can enjoy it longer, and already have the next book lined up.  I get so attached to characters.
  4. The characters, you get a certain surreal connection to them.  You want to know more about them, but they don't know any more than you do.  You're getting to know them as they are getting to know themselves.
  5. The intensity of the plot! It definitely created some build up to the turning book, but I felt so nervous while reading it that I couldn't put it down.  I normally fall asleep to books but this one kept me up all night. 
The movie was interesting in the sense that it was the same story, but different and created a new experience.  I'm not going into details because I don't want to ruin it for anyone and I want you to form your own opinions.  However, I think you need to go into it with the mindset that it's completely separate from the book.  I did still like to movie though.

5 Reasons Why You Should Check Out

If you're a huge reader, a reader who reads from time to time, or just someone who enjoys reading, then goodreads is the site for you! I was introduced to this site about a year or two ago, but it wasn't until recently that I got into it.  I was in a rut of what to read next and didn't really have anything on my list, now I have too many to keep up with at the moment.

Here's 5 reasons why you should check out

1. Finding new books to read!
This is the main reason I got into  I was in the biggest rut and lost on what to read next (before the books turned into movies boom we've had this past month).  I was introduced to Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl and this is a book that I personally enjoyed.  I'm a sucker for supernatural stories and it seems like goodreads knew that.

Turns out that once you have a certain number of books reviewed under your account (20 books, I think), they offer some suggestions based on your reviews.  This is where my introduction to the Caster Chronicles came into place.

2. Reviews are genuine and gives you different perspectives.
One series I was obsessed with was The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, at least for the first 2 books I was.  When I got into book 3, City of Glass, I stopped halfway through the book and nearly forgot about it for 6-8 months. There was something in the plot that I wasn't feeling, then I read a few reviews because I got curious about the book.  The reviews are by readers like you and are genuine.  You get the good and the bad.  After a few reviews, I refreshed my memory of what happened in the book and quickly finished it.  I ended up really liking the last half of the book and wish I never gave up on it.

3. Monthly newsletters that offer some suggestions.
There are a few books in my "Want to Read" queue now and before I never really had that type of list.  Now, I don't know when I'll catch up to the end of that list because it's ever-growing. What I love most about the newsletters are that they showcase books and authors of all sorts of genres.  I used to stick in my fantasy bubble when it came to books, thinking they were the only kind to keep my interest.  Although they're still my favorite, but now I've got some non-fantasy books under my belt.

4. You open your eyes to books you would normally never read.
This ties in with #3, in my experience. I stick to my comfort zone in nearly everything I do. With the newsletters, reviews, suggestions, and just browsing, you come across books you'd normally never pick up.  (Let's face it, we sometimes judge a book by its cover.) My favorite is to just click on books and read their summaries that are featured when you look up other books.

5. Interaction within a community.
Not only do I connect with my friends, but also other people from around the world.  They sometimes even have events you can attend to in your area.  Not only do you find suggestions for new books through newsletters, browsing, and such, but you can check out what your friends are reading.  A few of my friends just finished Gone Girl, and now I'm intrigued. Oh, and I forgot to mention about the conversations you can have about a book you enjoyed with others who enjoyed it too!

Do you have a goodreads account?  What do you think of the site?  Make sure to find me


Blogging Tips: All About the Post

As a beginner blogger, I focused too much on the "look" of my blog and changing/rearranging my layout.  (Especially in the LiveJournal days.) Up until recently I still would only update posts less than 8-10 times a month.  This isn't something bad, but my posts would only have a few with good content.  I've noticed personally that I get more interaction in the blogging community by posting better content.

1. It's about quality over quantity.
For a month I tried posting more.  With this I was putting up posts that I had very little passion about and lacked some quality in what I was saying. Just like how often you post, the length of the post doesn't matter either.  It's all about the quality, so take your time with your writing.

2. Post what you want to write about, not what you think others want to read.
This is a big no-no.  You end up posting something you don't care for and the quality diminishes.  Readers can see through this and won't have a connection with you.  Post what you have passion about and be real to your own voice.  The readers will take a special liking to you and your blog.

3. Organize and reread your posts before posting.
I do this and still need to go back and fix some errors after publishing a post. As I read, I think to read as if I were an outside reader, this way I get a new perspective.  Sometimes I feel what I say can go two different ways, and I like to go back to clarify and make sure what I want to say gets put across.

4. Setting aside some time to write your posts and scheduling them for later.
I used to write a post on a certain day and feel like I need to post it that day, then I read about scheduling your posts!  What a life changer for us bloggers from back in the day.  There are days I have the complete motivation to blog and others that I just get too distracted and focus on other things.  I like to write at least 2-4 posts in one day and schedule them for the future.  This way I can still live my life and spend time with others, but really get into something I enjoy on my own.

5. Brainstorming your posts and thinking like a blogger.
Sometimes you may come across times where you feel like you've got nothing to write about.  I used to be this way, but the posts kept coming non-stop once I really starting thinking like a blogger.  How do you think like a blogger? We you see things during your day, you start to see it as inspiration to help generate new ideas. For example, when finding a job started to bring me down I tried to encourage myself to be strong and just keep going.  This inspired last week's Friday Inspiration post Be Strong. If you ever get stuck on posts, start thinking that way.  Or check out the web or Pinterest, because I've seen some wonderful blogs that share ideas for blog posts.

What has helped you with your blog posts?


Friday Inspiration: Beach Love

From the ages of 4-11 I grew up in Hawaii because my father was in the armed services.  We were lucky enough to stay two back-to-back terms there and my childhood was awesome!  I'll have to discuss that in another post, because this post is about the beach!

Why do we love the beach?

1. You can rest & relax.  
The beach has always been a place to relax and feel calm by sitting on the sand and listening to the waves crash and caress against the shore.  You can just sit there and watch the world around you or shut it out by tuning out everything and get lost into a book.  I can easily go to the beach by myself and just be alone, but not feel lonely.

2. Gives you a place to spend with loved ones. 
Beach time was always the place and time for our family to spend time with one another.  We used to go to the beach nearly every weekend and I couldn't imagine my childhood without it. 

3. Feeling the warmth on your skin.  
I'm a girl of the warmth and sunshine, and even though I can adjust to the cold, I still feel out of place. I've been anxiously waiting for spring to come around here just to go to the beach.  I always feel better and healthier the more time I spend outside. Maybe it's the vitamin D?

I'm sure there are tons of reasons why we all love the beach, but those are my Top 3!  Do you love the beach? What are your reasons why?

List Item #87: Vacation in Bali

I'm a little late with writing this post as we went vacationing in Bali over a year ago in July 2013.  To most people from Australia, especially in Western Australia, a trip to Bali is quite common.  It's technically cheaper than visiting within the country.  I was excited to go to Bali because it would be warmer weather than the Australian winter, but not too extreme that it would be unbearably hot.

We stayed in a wonderful resort in Semiyak called Amadea. Gorgeous place, even in the small room that we were in.  Apparently, it's a nicer place to stay than Kuta, which is the popular tourist attraction. (Kuta is where you go to party.)

It was a great trip and quite affordable/cheap.  We got to eat at some nice places all over, Potato Head is the one that stuck out the most. We hired a driver that we knew through someone and he showed us around, taking us to the Monkey Forest, temples, beaches, volcano, etc. On our last night we got to eat on the beach, which was a nice feast as we watched the sunset.

However, I did get what they refer to as Bali belly.  You've got to be careful with the water, even when they serve tea and coffee. We did a tasting in the mountains of a variety of teas and luwak coffee.  (That's the coffee where they use the beans from the poop from the Asian palm civet animal, you may have heard about it from the movie The Bucket List.  Jack Nicholson's character was all about it.) I had the slightest taste of the coffee, put off by the process, but I had a bit more tea.  The next day my stomach wasn't feeling it and we spent the next 2 days splitting time between in bed and on the toilet.  It didn't leave me until I had to fly home to Australia then back home to Florida.  I recommend drinking and eating to just flush it out of your system.  My boy was better well before I was, but I was too nervous to eat that it lingered in my body a bit longer.

Even after that, I'd still go back again!  It was fun and there was plenty to do.  I just won't drink anything that doesn't come from a bottle.

Review: The Giver

The Book
I'll be honest, I was the girl in my 5th grade class that didn't pay any attention while my teacher read this to us.  Why?  Because I judge a book by its cover and the cover scared me at that age.  I never knew what it was about, who the characters were, and what happened in the end.  Fast forward 19 years and here I am, so disappointed in my younger self for not pay attention or reading this book for myself.  (I was into non-fiction books at that age with photographs and images that captivated me.)

This was a book with a dystopian society before it was cool.  I couldn't imagine having my life planned out like how it was in that book because my parents encouraged me to go for what I want, as long as I had ambition.  I was intrigued to read this recently because of the movie being released this month.  It was a quick read for me and one that raised a lot of questions about this society.  At the end, I was left with "Where's the rest?" lingering in my mind.  Interesting to find there are more in the series, but that don't feature the main character.  I hope to read the sequels to see how this society pans out.

Have you read The Giver?  What do you think?

Side Note: Just saw the movie and I enjoyed how it translated from the book.  Most people argue that movies ruin the books.  I like to look at them as two separate things and compare them.  The movie did quite well, but some things were changed from the book.  However, I understand these changes as they supported the film. I think it's worth seeing!

5 Things I've Learned While Living in Australia

Before I start, check out the illustration above by Melbourne, Australia artist Jimmy Gleeson!  It's apparently part of a book, and I want it.

Since changing my life from a regular US citizen who stayed in Florida for most of her life to an other-side-of-the-world traveler who uprooted her life to live abroad in Australia, I've learned quite a few things that are different than the US over the years.  Some of the things I've shared with friends shocked them when they realized how things are different, but seem so similar.

Here's just a few things I've learned recently:

1. How to Drive on the Left Side of the Road & Other Driving Rules
This was one thing I was dreading having to learn.  If you know me at all, you'd know I hate being out of my comfort zone and trying new things that are scary.  This was highly nerve wrecking at first, especially since I thought I would have to learn driving on the other side of the road in a manual, which I don't know how to do.  Oh, and in a massive SUV too.  However, we were lucky enough to borrow an automatic for almost a full year and I was able to learn in a small automatic car.  *phew* This still didn't take away all the nervousness, it just took some getting used to.  I was constantly veering too close to the left side oddly enough, most would veer to the right more.  I had to learn to "hug the right line" as best as I could.  Roundabout intersections took some getting used to, especially the multiple lane ones.  (Basically, an intersection where you yield, or give way, to the right without traffic lights.)  There is no left on a red light, unless you have a give way lane.  (It's basically like US "No Turn on Red," but like all the time.)  Oh, and in case you didn't notice, they say "Give Way" instead of "Yield."  

2. Aussie Footy/Football is NOT the Same as American Football
They call it footy here, which is basically short for football.  It's not like soccer, which is football in almost all other countries besides the US, and it's not American football.  The Aussie's have their own football.  It took me going to a footy game in person and with someone who is a footy agent to help understand the goal of the game.  I've watched it quite a lot the past 3 months because of my boy, and I'm understanding it better.  I won't go into detail, because you'll just get confused if you don't watch it.  However, the field reminds me of a Quidditch field and you want to kick the ball into the middle section of the poles.  

3. There are Widely Used Nicknames for Anything
Slang in Australia, this is something that's taking a while for me to figure out.  You've got words that majority of the people use, like footy (football), bogan (Aussie redneck basically), arvo (afternoon), brekky (breakfast), and such.  There's also nicknames for places in the city, like suburbs.  My boy was telling me we need to go to "Subi" and I was getting so confused, then I found out he mean "Subicao."  (Can we just use the real words?)  Seems like everyone has their own nickname and almost sounds like a foreign language when they all get together, even though we all speak English.

4. You Will Get Laughed at for Your Accent, But All in Good Fun
Yep, we sound completely different to them and the Aussies pronounce words not like us and not always like the British.  I'm always mispronouncing places because they don't sound like they're written.  The biggest difference I've noticed, and been teased about a bit, is Americans over emphasizes the R sound in words and the Aussie under emphasize them.  But the teasing is all in good fun and never meant to be cruel, so no worries.

5. It's a Very Laid Back Culture
Laaaaaaid back and easy going.  Majority of this country, from what I've noticed, is an extreme of this than the US.  In the US, I was always paranoid of locking all doors to everything, observing my surroundings, make sure I'm not being followed, always staying on brightly lit roads, etc.  Now in some areas in Australia you would want to keep precaution like that, but I've been mainly in areas you don't have to worry as much.  (As opposed to me being paranoid everywhere in the US.)  I always go on about taking precaution and double checking things, and my boy just laughs.  I've had to learn to ease up a bit, but I'm paranoid by nature.

Hopefully nothing I've said has scared you off and only encouraged you to visit this lovely country.  It's different, but in a good way and not a culture shock.

Inspirational Words - Be Strong

Sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

Some words that I've been needing lately are of those that send the message to be strong.  I moved my life to the other side of the world and pretty much have to start my career all over.  Little words of encouragement can help through any tough times.  I've came across these words via Pinterest and I think they're all great messages to send to anyone.  One thing I know that has always helped me personally and professionally is to not dwell on the negative and just keep going.  Persistence pays off in the end.

I'm hoping to keep a positive attitude, especially since once I started my momentum, I have to move to another city and start over again.  Wish me luck, and I wish everyone else good luck as well!

How I Got Into Beauty Bloggers

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

I would have to say that I really didn't get into, nor understood, make up until maybe 3-4 years ago.  I knew the basics and how to keep things looking natural.  However, I didn't know there were techniques, tools, and tips to help everything come together.

Here's how I got into the beauty blogging phenomenon and what changed in my beauty routine:

Pen Pal Letters

Something I've wanted for a while was a Pen Pal, someone to write to and an excuse to make cute little paper crafts/designs. Luckily, through this beautiful blogging world, I came across Joy.  She had a blog that showcased her work and was more of a craft girl than I could ever dream of.   (She even has a cute little shop.)  We had conversed through social media and I found out she wanted a Pen Pal too.  Since I was moving overseas from Florida, USA to Perth, Australia I thought it would be a great time for an international Pen Pal, I still count it as international even though I'm from USA as well.

I sent my first letter over with just paper, pen, and an envelope.  I love to doodling and change my handwriting while I write my letters.  Gives my own personal touch.  It amazes me how much I had to write, even though we barely knew each other nor met in real life.  We have also sent postcards from our travels.

Joy certainly has inspired me to step up my game!  Her letter came and I was in awe the little touches that let's you know it's from her.

I love the inspiration that can easily come from something so simple.  It's a shame there are talks of raising postage prices and slower delivery here in Australia.  Makes you realize how much has changed over the decades, especially within the digital age, and how much you appreciate something as small as a letter.

List Item #56: Visit New Zealand

I soon wanted to visit New Zealand once I made friends with some fellow counselors at camp.  Camp seems to be a great way to create friendships all over the world!  I have friends in England, New Zealand, Australia, Slovenia, and more!  The more they speak of their home, the sudden desire to visit their homeland creeps out.

I didn't know much of New Zealand, but I learned about its green scenery, abundance of sheep, giant mountainous ranges, and the place to go for all Lord of the Rings fans.

Before moving to Australia, my boy wanted to go on a holiday soon after my arrival.  He's got the snowboarding bug and suggested we go to Queenstown, New Zealand for a taste of their winter and adventure down their mountains.

Wordpress vs. Blogger

In one of my previous Blogging 101 Series post (Getting Started) I talked briefly about deciding which platform works best for you.  I mentioned using Wordpress (both .com & .org), Blogger, Tumblr, Livejournal, Typepad, and so on.   Here you'll get my personal experience with Wordpress & Blogger and some helpful tips to help YOU decide what is best for you.

In my personal experience, and from what I've seen over the years in blogging, Wordpress and Blogger seem to be the most popular used.  Although I am a fan of if you want to have more options with customizing and such, I decided recently to switch back to Blogger.

Why did I switch back to Blogger? 
I was hosting my blog Everyday Ephee while using Wordpress for a little over a year. I truly enjoyed tweaking the layouts and adding my own personal customization, but for the last few months I've thought about switching back to Blogger.  Why?  Well, moving overseas can certainly change your financial priorities.  I feel like I no longer have the $70-100 a year, at this point, to put down towards my blog.  I don't run a business blog or intend to make money from it at this point, it's my hobby.

I've been looking through tutorials about how to customize Blogger and I factored in on how much money I would spend, nothing if I just stuck to the blogspot URL.  So I decided to switch back.  (I was also not connecting with my previous blog name/URL.) My purpose with my personal blog is to express myself through what I enjoy on this blog and share with others.  Simple as that, and as simple as Blogger is it seemed to fit what I needed better.  The only money I put down was $20 towards a domain name.

Another perk I enjoy, Blogger is set up to be connected with your Google account.  I use my Google account for everything it seems!  I use Good Drive for writing blog notes and transferring files, Google Calendar to set up my schedule (includes bills and my personal, blog, and work events), GMail always for emailing (plus you can have several accounts logged in at the same time), Google Plus account to connect and share, and more.  Get it, Google!

What should I pick for myself?
When ultimately deciding between Wordpress or Blogger, I feel like you should really ask yourself some questions.

  1. What kind of blog do I want?  
  2. Personal blog or a blog that could turn into a business?
  3. Do I want a LOT of my own customization to add more personal touches? And do I know how to do so?
  4. Am I a beginner or know my way around HTML, CSS, and all other parts of creating a website?

First thing I suggest, set up a blog with both and if you really aren't sure.  They're both free to set up and you can play around with their platforms to see which one you're most comfortable with.

Then, think about what you want to do in the future for your blog.  Do you eventually want to purchase your own domain and web host to create a blog?  Do you want to make it into a business?  If you said yes to these questions, I would suggest sticking to Wordpress.  You can always used Wordpress.COM (they host your blog) until you decide to make the big move to your own host using Wordpress.ORG.  If you said no, then I would suggest using Blogger.  It's free and simple, plus many people are familiar with and you don't need to purchase your own domain URL.

Keep in mind you can always change things up in the future, so you can let it linger in your mind for as long as you like.   But I do recommend trying to stick to one for a while and not switch back and forth a lot.  I feel like it hurts my blog and followers/readers.  Being persistent with your blog is the best thing you can do for it.  (And I really should take my own advice.)

These tips are designed for beginning bloggers.  If you know your way around blogging or feel like you know something, please share with us!!!  And if you got your own questions/concerns, ask!

Garden Party

 Image Sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6


New Zealand Adventure

Photo by: The Remarkables & Queenstown, NZ Facebook

I just two days I'm off to Queenstown, New Zealand for some more cold adventures.  My boy wants to go snowboarding down some mountains (like pictured above), and I'm skeptical if I'll ever take another chance on a board or attempt skiing.  I'm not an adrenaline junkie.  I spent a lot more time in the lodge the last time we went snowboarding and had a snowboarding lesson.  It's not that snowboarding scared me, it's mainly because my paranoia sets in when flying down a slope and fear of heights overtakes my body that sends me into a panic.  However, I'll push myself out of my comfort zone and just do it.  (This is due to the fact I got a buddy in NZ that agreed to be snowboard buddy.)


List Item #39 - Move to Another Country

A few months ago I made the decision to uproot my life and move to Australia, specifically Perth, WA.  I've visited this country twice before for several weeks at a time, so I knew where I was going.  At least, I felt like I knew something about the place. But that was from a visitors stand point, and I'm no longer a visitor.

I got my Working Holiday Visa, cleaned out my room at home, packed as much as I could into my allocated luggage (and even had to stuff an extra bag with an extra cost), put all my works affairs in order, and traveled for 30+ hours to the other side of the world for a new life.

The months leading up to my departure were as regular and normal as any other days.  Even with closing accounts, turning in my notice that I won't be returning the following year to work, and downsizing my belongings, it never occurred to me how big this transition is.  Not even during my going away parties.

It wasn't until I was at the airport saying my goodbyes to my parents and best friend that it hit.  I finally realized what everyone was excited and nervous about. I was completely uprooting my life and what I know of life to the other side of the world.  I was no longer going to get to bug and annoy my parents regularly, have fun times with my friends of many years (in the flesh), or even see my dogs consistently.

I'm truly going to miss my USA life, but I'm so excited for my new Aussie life!  I've only been here a week and it still feels like just a holiday. Especially since I'm taking time to visit friends on the other side of the country. However, I did move all my stuff into our room, which surprisingly fit, and tried to make myself as comfortable as I could in my new home. Still adjusting, but that'll take time.

I've already had some wonderful welcomes into the country. My first Aussie love/friend made an "Aussie kit" for me out of an esky (Aussie for cooler) with Vegemite, mozzie (mosquito) repellent, Haviannas (flip flop brand), Paw Paw ointment (awesome for nearly anything), sunblock, Aussie Candy and more. I even got some love from some  friends traveling South America to welcome me into the country.

One thing I'm surprised about is at how I don't feel scared or worried about this move. I normally like to be in control of my life and have all my ducks lined up perfectly before any change. I'm shocked there's no anxiety at the moment, but maybe that'll just come later. I'm wondering if this is just the Aussie way because everyone I've come across or met seems just so laid back and not high-strung. Or maybe I'm just THAT comfortable? When I visited other countries I truly felt like a visitor and everything felt foreign. Since my first trip to the "Land Down Under" I somehow felt it was easy getting to know this land.

We shall see what the next few weeks brings as I adjust to a new and exciting life!

Spring Fashion, 2014

I love just playing around on the internet, shopping in my mind.  I'm trying really hard to save all my extra money towards my major move in just over 2 months.  However, I am a girl who enjoys some fashion, and with spring blooming away, it doesn't help with my urge to buy spring outfits.  Floral seems to be around all the sites and it's intriguing me.  I'm not a girl for the bright colors of spring, but it sure is growing on me.  I'm also not one for mixing prints, but I've been loving what other fashionistas have been mixing lately.  I'm wanting to step out of my fashion comfort zone and try new things.  Although I'm not a fan of brights and florals normally, I love pairing it with some edgy pieces!  (Let's see if I resist the urge to go out and buy this outfit.)

What have you been loving lately?