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.