Spiraling in circles

FeaturedSpiraling in circles

Who would have thought that even with my love of writing, that I would delay a post for so long. I’ve had ideas, short stories and details about my master’s program, but nevertheless, I fail at writing. I think I made excuses for myself and felt guilty. I had a hole inside me and I couldn’t shake it. Ideas would swirl in my head but here I was, spiraling in circles. I will say that writing just this paragraph has made me feel so much better; like a good therapy session, or better yet, good sex.

Since the last post, I started a master’s program at Ashford University, Education to be exact. In two weeks, I felt like it wasn’t enough. I’m not saying Ashford is a bad university, I loved it as an undergrad. I felt that for my master’s, I needed a bigger and better challenge.

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Prior to starting Ashford, I was in the talks with an enrollment advisor at Western Governor’s University, or WGU. I had a good chance at getting in like most universities, but I had a cultural studies from my undergrad program that couldn’t quite beat what I needed, hence going to Ashford. Within the two weeks at Ashford, I felt that disconnect in a master’s program, so I withdrew and did a little soul searching.

I contacted my advisor, at this point, it had been about 3 months since we chatted last. I sent over a PDF of the course standards of the class I had taken to have it evaluated. After two weeks of impatience, anxiety and a quick phone call, my enrollment advisor congratulated me on getting everything required so that I could begin courses. This was the end of May when we had spoken. So here I was, onto a new adventure and a new challenge.

As of July 1st, I started my Master’s in Teaching English (5-12). I finished four classes in my first term, well, in four months and have had the last two months off. Thankfully. I also have passed all three subtests of my West-B as required for the state of Washington. Ta-da! Now I have Monday to chat with my student mentor and meet with my field specialist and talk about what I can do with my observation teaching. I am hoping to get it done and taken care of so I can dedicate some time to studying.

I also have for my second term: three courses, observation and the NES 301 (English) for the Pedagogy assessment.

The hurdle begins.

Student teaching in the fall.

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Western Governor’s University. Salt Lake City, Utah

It’s been a whirlwind of the last 5 1/2 months in school, but since having some time off from my studies to reflect on who I am as an individual, as a mom, a student, a teacher and a wife, it makes sense that I post this to bear that hard work truly does pay off. After all, being 29 doesn’t mean it’s too late to find something you love, it’s a matter of finding out what you love and going for it.

This time next year, I hope to be certified in the state of Washington, and will have the remainder of the school year to substitute teach in the mean time. I have a long year ahead of me, but it’s worth it.

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Beauty Haul Pt. 1

FeaturedBeauty Haul Pt. 1

I know I have become more of a girly girl the last couple years, watching some of my favorite Youtubers, Jaclyn Hill and Manny, amongst others as most certainly helped me morph into a feminine self. I get home from work and play with makeup, no seriously. I think I have splurged the most in makeup the last week than I have in a long time. It meant I have to give up my shoes for a while, but I am okay with that and finding another hobby or first love.

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I placed a large order between Sephora and Ulta, part one of Sephora arrived today, parts 2 and 3 should be arriving in the coming days. I only placed one order at Ulta. I am writing everything below and linking it to Sephora for now, and I will not be listing the samples I have. I will also do my best to list the prices for each item.

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Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm ($29)

Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in shade 1.0 ($40)

Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick, shade Bisque ($46)

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder ($38)

Becca Cosmetics Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter, Champagne Pop ($38)

NYX Color Correcting Concealer ($11.99)

Tarte Shape Tape Concealer, Fair ($24)

Kat Von D Lock It Setting Spray Mist ($26)

Benefit Porefessional balm (.75oz is $31)

Skyn Iceland Icelandic Relief Eye Cream ($45)

Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels ($30)

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The Skyn Iceland products have been in my regiment for the last couple of years and have drastically helped the appearance of my under eyes.

Laura Mercier has a fantastic primer that I use, Radiance, and it gives me that dewy summer glow, not oily! I love this product so much, I figured the translucent powder would be everything. It has so much potential in the world of setting powders.

Tarte Shape Tape is showing to have potential. It doesn’t crease, it isn’t cakey nor does it feel like I need globs of it for the concealer to do its job. I have a feeling that the rave reviews, and Tarte about to gain one more follower. Shh! I also purchased the new Amazonian Clay pallet, and I am super excited to play with the colors. Screen Shot 2017-03-02 at 7.29.44 PM.png

I have had good experiences with Clinique products over the years, but this cleansing balm may have a new bouncing baby brother or sister in a week or two. I think this balm will be a piece of my nightly routine as I get ready for bed, and relax. I love how creamy it is and I
was A-MAZED at the product that was sitting on top of my skin, trapped inside the balm. Even my eyeliner and mascara was looking blotted insiScreen Shot 2017-03-02 at 7.30.51 PM.pngde the cleansing balm. A good rinse and you are good to go!

Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Sticks are also going to take up A LOT of my time. All I want to do is play with the creamy sticks, watch them melt into my skin as I blend with my damp beauty blender. I love them, but I do think the price point is a little high for the amount of product you get. From first experiences, this could be another new addition to my makeup routine. Bisque may have been a little too dark, but again, there is a strong possible future for this one.

Overall, I feel like I have a good haul. I have several more items coming tomorrow, Saturday and/or Monday, so I feel like another post should be coming soon. I am falling back in love with makeup all over again. Champagne Pop is lighting the way!Screen Shot 2017-03-02 at 7.30.08 PM.png

Nip Your Writing to Make you Look Like A Pro

FeaturedNip Your Writing to Make you Look Like A Pro

I know I am guilty of doing some of these when I work on my writing. While it has been a while since I have posted a writing based post, I think it would be beneficial to pull away from the superficial and get back to what matters the most to me – writing. When writing, we tend to make a lot of edits, think things through, over think, hyperventilate while in the fetal position in the corner of all places, eating chocolate and stressing about how we are going to get through this. If all things matter, this post should help! Again, I am not perfect, but I am learning from my mistakes and sharing with you.

  1. Switch the POV to first-person

When writing anything, first-person can save your writing immensely. I write, for example, predominately in third-person omniscient and I struggle putting the story together. I challenged myself to change my perspective to first-person and it has become so smooth, and I am proud of myself for doing so. I think the outcome will be better, showing emotion from the main character, amongst other important people.

2. Use italics for emphasis

Writing feeling bland? Using italics is a great way to get the message across, or even use it when there is internal thinking for the main character. It shows strength and understanding in your writing as an author, but also bridges a connection for the readers. Try it!

3. Edit your dialogue execution

Minimizing the talk doesn’t mean to actually cut the dialogue. I mean cut the whisper, whimper, bellow amongst anything else that is supposed to “set the tone.” I think using said is as simple and enough when it comes to writing.

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4.  Cut down the unnecessary

There is such thing as using too many modifiers, and words that end in -ly. A tip for the wise – use that tool in Word, or any other program and look for all words that end in -ly, or the, even and. We can scale those back with some simple editing.

Also, we don’t need the overuse of excessively large words.

We can also cut: in order to, that, start to, and make changes with really, thing, and very.

5. Shorten

A lot of great books have extremely long sentence structures. George R. R. Martin has several, but with his writing, it’s necessary. Divide those long sentences into two. Those long words, simplify them. Tempestuous probably isn’t the best word to be using in that romance novel.

6. Use active language!

Passive language isn’t the best way to keep writers. Perhaps that is where I struggled with third-person writing. But use what you are good at!

7. Write like Hemingway

Write drunk, edit sober. Or write like no one is watching. Write like your life depends on it.

8. Writing should age

Just like a good whiskey or fine wine, it ages over time to mull and pick up the flavors of the barrel and the notes within the wine/whiskey itself. When you finish a draft, set it aside for a week or two and enjoy life. Don’t think about it and then come back to it for those pesky edits.

 

Writing is an artform and can be an inquired skillset over time. Practice makes perfect and even I am not there yet. I think if you truly love it, use it, build it and grow!

 

 

The Joy that Filled my Heart

FeaturedThe Joy that Filled my Heart

Amongst the chaos, the clutter and everything else that seems to play as a distraction, this week is already halfway over, and it has been a rollercoaster ride.

Monday wasn’t my favorite day of the week, but then again, who claims Monday as their favorite day of the week? I went through insane amounts of coffee and tried to stay sane as kids talked, refused to work and ticked me off enough to get sent to the office. But my week was just getting started.

Tuesday, Valentine’s Day, I was up an hour earlier to get myself and my kids ready. They had to get to grandma’s so I could get to work early morning. My husband worked graveyard the previous night, so grandma took them to school. I left as school got out to grab my kids, got home to make dinner and sent husband to work shortly after that.

Between Monday and Tuesday, the students I have been teaching the last couple weeks are preparing for check in that they have to make sure they are on schedule to graduate. I wish I had this. Anyway, I offered to stay at school this week to allow them time to get some work done, no more than an hour. That day was Wednesday (today).

I wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out, allowing kids to come in, get caught up and ask the necessary questions. Approximately a half dozen mentioned they wanted to come so that they can get help. I thought one or two would show up. Nope, most of them did plus a few more. I had them engaged, listening and most of them made good progress.

It warmed my heart.

Tomorrow is my last day, and it breaks my heart not knowing the outcome of the coming weeks. Will they get a new teacher or will I have the privilege of having them a little while longer? I enjoy being with these kids and to have them finally opening up to me, sharing stories, their fears, asking questions, I feel as if they are opening up. I have gotten requests from kids to have edits done on papers, advice on how to word their work, some of the seniors have asked that I write letters of recommendations. Seriously, my heart is full. I think it would be tragic for a new teacher to come in and have them close back up and have to start from square one again.

On a different note, Tuesday, in our district, ballots were counted. A bond and levy are currently passing, meaning Mt. View will get a new school, Shelton High will get a new building, and the other schools will be gaining improvements and such needed to make room and allow personal and academic growth.Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 7.54.49 PM.png

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Screenshot provided by Keri Davidson (SSD)

 

 

Damaged, Broken, Forward I Must Move

FeaturedDamaged, Broken, Forward I Must Move

I feel frazzled and uninspired to write. I feel as if the stress of my life has taken over. I cried for the first time since this “down spiral” began and it didn’t even help. I feel disconnected from the world more often and feel as if I am drowning.

My laundry is piled up, what clean laundry is in the basket refuses to find a drawer all by itself, my t.v. shows have taken a back burner because I feel no enjoyment out of them anymore.

My husband’s job is driving me nuts, keeping me tied at the end of a string. Answers are nearly impossible and not having much information makes me feel like our lives are about to change drastically. We’ve been told the job is his, now he and two others are going for job interviews right around the 23rd. I guess one doesn’t seem like he would be a good candidate because of his lack of will at work, but who knows. Maybe it’s a formality they have to follow and will give him the job at the end of it. It’s the little things that are making me feel like I am way out of orbit, unable to breathe.

A lavender vanilla candle has been my therapy nearly on a day-to-day basis, working as much as I can as an on-call teacher just so I am preoccupied, and afterward, locking myself in my room or hide because I just don’t want to be around people; something that is unusual for me. The smallest things drive me over the edge, I begin to yell and scream, my patience has been worn thin, my heart on my sleeve, I feel battered and bruised emotionally, even physically drained.

I want answers.

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I feel like writing is doing something, but with my lack of feeling, my passion for life and writing has been lackluster, almost none existent these last couple of weeks. I feel broken.

How do you pick up the pieces?

Wishing to fast-forward isn’t doing much of anything, but cleaning like a fiend helps, taking all things that feel toxic in my life, unused and taking up space now live in a closet until spring when I can sell them so others can be happy.

Snuggling with Squirt momma, my fat cat who thinks she is deprived of attention, lays next to me, purring. My kids are downstairs in awe that my youngest lost his front tooth. Where it’s at, we’re not sure. Dear John is on E! via my laptop plugged to an HDMI to the TV in my upstairs bedroom, but I think my graphics card has had its last breath to considering it plays a movie or show for a few minutes then freezes. I can’t bare paying for a cable box upstairs when I have other means to watch TV. It seems Netflix on Playstation is where it’s at for now, but brings contentment.

In other news, I am slowly conquering Beautiful Choas, the third book in the Beautiful Creatures series. I read the first two and didn’t love them, but felt incomplete not reading the other two. So I picked up book three. I read it when I have planning periods or time in between to relax and destress. It’s good don’t get me wrong, but just not sure it’s a book for me. I will more than likely finish the last book when I am done so it will be out of my way. The next series in line I will read is The Alchemyst by Michael Scott, or I will finish Anna Karenina by Tolstoy. Goodreads. Find me, add me and let’s read together!

College also seems daunting, like a foreign country to me. I know the idea of college will help my career in the long run, but deep down, without guidance and answers, I feel as if I need to stop pushing forward. I know this is something that I want, but until things fix themselves, or we make our life elsewhere, I feel as if it is not necessary. I’m scared of what the future holds, and I only hope I will get answers soon.

Empty. Broken. I will fix the pieces and try to remain positive. Onward.

Online versus Classroom Education

Online versus Classroom Education

There are certainly pros and cons to each side. Being a lifelong learner on the brink of going back to grad school, I have found that some people do well in one, and not the other. In many instances, most people tend to think that online education is a lack thereof, nor allows a certifiable degree, and a waste of time. It necessarily isn’t true. That being said, it would be beneficial to do some research and figure out where the institution is accredited, how long they have been around, check the BBB, read reviews, and don’t hesitate to call and ask questions. The same goes for campus-based institutions as well, research the college and be sure to ask questions, even about various degree choices, it will help in the long run and aid in making the best option for you.

Do you have the time to go to classes each day? Being in a classroom is great since you can ask the professor/teacher all the questions right there, get feedback and work with your peers one-on-one. Being extroverted can help in many cases since you do have to reach out and be social.

For someone who has a busy schedule and wants to be able to put education in their program as they need to, they should look into online-based programs. Being a mom, raising two boys, working full-time allowed me to put education into the gaps of my schedule and complete it on my terms! Yes, it was unbelievable.

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From personal experience, I did the college classroom setting and found it annoying and time-consuming to go out of my way, go to school and makes notes and to come home and study some more. I did a year and a half in the community college setting. I had two kids under the age of two, I had to juggle my husband’s schedule and my own just to accommodate my schedule for classes. It was a pain in the rear!

After taking some time off from school, I was informed about an online college who had a campus based in Iowa, they were accredited, they had a good reputation through the BBB, a friend loved it there, and the best part is, I could go for a degree that I wanted. Along with this place, I looked into a couple other online-based programs and found that some didn’t have the best reviews or reputation with the BBB.

I leaped! Online school was great but nerve-wracking at first, because I had to get in a rhythm of deadlines, and put myself into a schedule that would allow me to have my family time, work and get my schooling done. It took a couple of months, but the hard part was over, or so I thought. My last semester or so was probably the most emotional for me. After 3 years, I strived for the best and was at the end of my journey. One last semester and the classes would be over. As I progressed in classes, they became more in depth, more time-consuming and mind boggling. Nonetheless, online education brought me two, very useable, degrees.

With technology developing and becoming more accessible to the public, along with the internet, search engines, and tools for education, pursuing a degree has never been easier. Even if traveling is a highlight in your daily tasks, or you travel for work. Studying in a coffee shop has its perks after working all day and making sure the kids are taken care of!

Time management is crucial to either setting. In classrooms, you have to set time aside to write papers, work in groups, study outside of class, etc. In the online environment, you still have to do the same job, but often it turns out (from experience) a lot of it is independent work. Absence from classrooms may often hinder a participation grade, while online doesn’t truly factor that.

 

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Participation varies in traditional settings and online classes. In campus-based courses, it may not be a requirement to raise a hand, ask a question and communicate ideas on the residing topic in class. Online students are required to do a post, respond so many times to other students, cite sources and be a part of an ongoing discussion that is crucial to their education. “In traditional classes, students voluntarily participate in the debates or ask and answer questions. However, according to the University of Connecticut’s Instructional Design and Development Guide for Online Students, some people may be shy or unwilling to contribute, leading to a lopsided class dynamic where the same individuals tend to carry the weight. In online courses, participation is mandatory, usually through written discussions in chat rooms or on message boards” (Seattle PI).

Degree choice is a decisive factor when picking the online or classroom setting. Most often times, liberal arts degrees, criminal justice, psychology, and others are ideal for online learning since working from home or on the go is simple. Welding, technicians, medical field and computer-based degrees online would be more practical in a classroom where one may get one-on-one training. Education-based programs would be interesting online, but have noted there are many out there. Some states need to allow student teaching in a classroom with kids, grading at the end of the term. Of course, reporting everything to an advisor is an idea, maybe even in online nursing based programs. Do the work online, and be on site at a local hospital for the training. Interesting idea?

Either way, when picking a degree choice, perhaps writing down some specific degree choices down that you would like to research; write down a typical schedule for yourself and ask yourself if you can fit your education into a busy lifestyle, or if education is the center of your lifestyle. Don’t forget to do your research and ask lots of questions!

 

 

Lead photo by Huffington Post

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Educational Journey for a Master’s Degree

Educational Journey for a Master’s Degree

Earlier in the year, I announced that I would be going back for my master’s degree. Yes, I am! The feelings that are rushing through are excited, scared, nervous, and anxious. I know it will only widen my door so that I can teach since that is what I seem to love doing lately.

As of right now, I can teach in a community college setting, which is also something I am working on locally. But I am teaching, on-call, for the school district. I have found that I love the older kids, I love being able to converse with them on a deeper level in hopes that they will catch my disease for education and go on to do something great with their lives.

I have got quite a list on my hands for enrollment.

  • Application
  • Transcript release request form
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Statement of Purpose (200-500 words)
  • Writing Sample (3 pages)
  • $40 application fee

And yet, I still have to apply for financial aid, and I need to file taxes for the year. Because I am attending the 2017-2018 school year, I need to file my 2016 taxes. I have yet to receive the last one.

But there is one more thing holding me back, and it’s big.

My husband is not yet full time. We are still awaiting for the official job posting so that we can get his name in. I would feel so much better about attending grad school if he was a full-time employee. My dream for graduate school is being put on the back burner just a little bit longer, but I still plan on starting April 3rd, 2017.

Perhaps I am nervous, or maybe I am just a worry wart thinking the worst can happen. Either way, I want to get this far in my career and that one last hurdle of the year is right there. If my husband can just get the full-time job at his work, we would be comfortable, and it would make this transition in life so much easier.

 

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 Courtesy of American University Connect

 

But, when I plan to start, I will be working endlessly on my MA in English/Creative Writing – Fiction. Eighteen months of online education and an endless workload, I promised my husband I would work at least part time while pursuing my dream of a master’s. So it will be done. Further in depth, the courses being 18 months long, will be two courses at a time, for the duration of about 10 weeks with a short break in between the courses. My plan is to add a third course a couple of occasions and finish in a year, but that may also be dragging it out just a little.

The actual classes I will have the liberty of choosing from are here. I am so excited to take classes I am actually interested in, and the ability to online teach with one of the courses added to my resume, that is beyond exciting for me.

I had a fantastic time at Ashford, and I have a feeling that SNHU will also be that same way as I am already experiencing with my academic advisor. My advisor isn’t pushy, doesn’t call me fifteen times, but rather sends me a weekly email to see how things are doing, and perhaps a phone call to see if I have any questions.

Send good vibes, well wishes and such. I am hoping this one thing will go our way and things won’t turn out to be a trick. Otherwise, consequences will be dire and could make big changes.

 

Lead image courtesy of https://entrepreneurthearts.files.wordpress.com