End-of-the-Year Inspo

As a journalist – and, furthermore, as a journalist who would rather report on DIY trends and celebrity outfits rather than hard-hitting headlines – I’m fascinated by BuzzFeed. As a 20-something who needs something to do while Netflixing, I’m drawn in by the quizzes, click-bait titles and endless posts on relevant topics…but on a larger level, I just love what the site offers: real news stories (Only one of my journalism students says she keeps up with what’s happening in the world regularly, and she does this through BuzzFeed.)…entertainment galore (Anyone from anywhere at any age can find something they’ll enjoy here!)…and the added bonuses (Through movie quizzes, I’m introduced to new things to add to my must-watch list. Through lists of products, I come up with amazing Christmas gift ideas. And through posts like the following, I’m inspired…:)

"Life doesn't happen to you, it happens for you."

Who: Jim Carrey

What: Commencement speech at Maharishi University of Management

When: 2014

Why this speech was so inspirational: “And when I say, ‘Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you’, I really don’t know if that’s true. I’m just making a conscious choice to perceive challenges as something beneficial so that I can deal with them in the most productive way.”

How to apply this to life: The funny man is right; we don’t know the meaning of life or the purpose of living, but we’re in control of our thoughts and actions and lives, so actively view things positively, always strive to overcome, and remember that everyone is fighting a battle, & how we handle these challenges speaks volumes.

"This is water."

Who: David Foster Wallace

What: Commencement address at Kenyon College

When: 2005

Why this speech was so inspirational: A speech, book and YouTube video help listeners/readers/viewers understand that the ability of an old, wise fish to be aware of the water in which he swims is a metaphor for the conscious, self-aware, mindful existence Wallace is trying to encourage.

How to apply this to life: I’ve been obsessed with this for years, after stumbling upon the video, because awareness is key. Even if you don’t consider yourself “mindful”, and even if you don’t have a husband who made you read Nietzsche, you should always be thinking about who you are, where you are, what you should be doing, how you are doing and so on. These random check-ins will change your life (and I have a pretty little presentation I just made for my students on this, if you want me to send you a copy:).

"Just be Stevie Nicks."

Who: Tavi Gevinson

What: TED Talk – “A Teen Just Trying to Figure It Out

Why this talk was so inspirational: The talk is about what it means to be a feminist, a teenage girl, and the complex struggle of being both at the same time.

How to apply this to life: Again, even if you’re not a feminist or a teen or a female OR a Fleetwood Mac fan…Go research the chick, rent a hippie van, try on some fringe, and just go with it for a bit ;p

"It's okay that we're not perfect."

Who: Marina Abramović

What: TED Talk – “An Art Made of Trust, Vulnerability and Connection

When: 2015

Why this talk was so inspirational: This artist speaks a lot about her work and the public’s perception of her after experiencing it. This is just one stand-out quote that everyone needs to hear: “It’s okay that we’re not perfect. It’s okay that we all have problems. It’s okay to cry, to show emotions”.

How to apply this to life: Cry! Love yourself! Fully, 100 percent accept that no one is perfect. How boring would it be if we were all picture-perfect little robots?! It’s good to want a healthy dose of perfection and goodness, but be gentle with yourself, okay?

"I am. I am. I am."
Who: Sylvia Plath

What: The Bell Jar

Why this book was so inspirational: We know this read is a bit dark, but…“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart; I am, I am, I am.”

How to apply this to life: As mentioned, be you. Check in on you. Love you. Listen to you. Breathe. Smile. BE. LIVE.

"When you're ready to wake up, you're going to wake up."
Who: Alan Watts

What: The Real You

When: 1915 

Why this quote was so inspirational: He was a philosopher for a reason, with his inspiration to stop feeling sorry for yourself and make some kind of change.

How to apply this to life: …Stop feeling sorry for yourself and make some kind of change!

"Everything is amazing right now and nobody is happy."
Who: Louis CK

What: low-key rant on Conan

Why this rant was so inspirational: If you really listen to it, it should give you a different perspective on a few things, including your desire to whine about long flights.

How to apply this to life: Life. Is. Amazing. Yes, bad things happen. Sure, there will be days when everything goes wrong. And – unfortunately – there will be moments when you’d rather sit in traffic for eternity rather than deal with loss, sadness and pain. It’s all about balance and perspective, though. Will the sun still come out tomorrow? Do you still have all your memories and talents and goals? Are you blooming where you are planted?

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This time of the year is one of my favorites, with Tommy’s birthday, Halloween, my birthday, Thanksgiving, then Christmas and the new year – a time filled with lots of presents!

However, this post isn’t about gifts wrapped up with shiny bows; it’s about being PRESENT.

I’ve struggled with anxiety and stress and OCD-tendencies for as long as I can remember. There are ways to cope with any situation/problem, but that can be tough in a world full of photoshopped models, egotistical/competitive ways on social media and the desire to just want to be a normal, content, attractive, happy-go-lucky, loved human being!

Many of my blog posts (and Instagram posts and almost-finished books and thoughts) are about perspective and blessings; no one has it perfectly, and even on your worst day, you can look to your left, right or through your Facebook feed and see someone who is suffering far worse – with loss or illness or war or famine (Remember that, students and Bri and reader!).

If you haven’t realized by now, bad things will happen – and it’s all about how you deal with them. Do you deal with them at all? Do you make matters worse? Sometimes, we just need a reminder that life is short, so why not actually/really/honestly live it to the fullest?

Since my husband is a trainer and my dad is a coach, I’ve always worked out, but only recently have I been super dedicated – cutting out sweets, hitting the gym every single day of the week, pushing myself to my limits, not complaining about the sweat and seeing results!

When I put this dedication/drive to use in other areas of my life…I created amazing year-long lesson plans for all eight of the classes I teach. I even had time to help Tommy with his. Much to everyone’s surprise, I have started cooking more. I’ve been making the effort to compliment people and let them know how special they are. Most importantly, I’ve been focusing on just being the best overall me – and it helps to be present.

In any given moment, you could be thinking about or doing a bazillion different things; if you stop, breathe, put down the phone and look around, however, you’ll notice…A. the beauty of nature B. that wobbly table that you could fix (And won’t your significant other be so proud/glad?!) C. someone’s cute haircut to compliment D. that the worry of the past and the anxiety of the future and the stressors you may be feeling about that to-do list or work or life…none of that matters. Sure, it’s good to be responsible and conscientious – but don’t make yourself sick! Don’t live in the past! Don’t let the present pass you by because you’re too busy wondering what tomorrow will bring!

I bet that if you look around right now, in this very moment we’re in, you’ll see several things you should be thankful for – and that perspective on the present is a wonderful thing…just like you.:)

P.S. – Check out these 101 ways to #livelifetothefullest!

Happy birthday to me…

 “What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes

Twenty-five years and my life is still
Trying to get up that great big hill of hope
For a destination
I turn 26 tomorrow.
I’m constantly trying to get up a big hill (of hope, of to-do lists, etc. – even if I feel like Sisyphus at times).
And we’re all always on a way to a destination (work, retirement, the weekend, goals, and so on).
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I realized quickly when I knew I should
That the world was made up of this brotherhood of man
For whatever that means
What does that mean? Do we know what brotherhood is any more? Or love or peace or compassion? (After the election, whatever your feelings are on it, seems like a good time to ponder on questions like this – but you should also probably be aware of these things daily.)
And so I cry sometimes
When I’m lying in bed
Just to get it all out
What’s in my head
And I, I am feeling a little peculiar
And so I wake in the morning
And I step outside
And I take a deep breath and I get real high
And I scream from the top of my lungs
What’s going on?
And I say, hey hey hey hey
I said hey, what’s going on?
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I cry.
I love my bed.
I want and need to get it all out, at times.
I always feel a little peculiar (like one of Miss Peregrine’s).
I remind myself constantly to breathe.
But when I do stop and think, I wonder…What IS going on?
And I try, oh my god do I try
I try all the time
In this institution
And I pray, oh my god do I pray
I pray every single day
For a revolution
I’m always trying to be my best, praying that I please myself and those around me…and if a revolution comes from that, that’s cool, too.
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And so I cry sometimes…And I step outside…And I scream from the top of my lungs…What’s going on?
Twenty-five years and my life is still
Trying to get up that great big hill of hope
For a destination
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Eat *glitter* For Breakfast&Shine All Day

I know my last post was about getting pumped for fall, and I don’t want this one to seem like I’m backtracking, but…M E R M A I D S.

We’re at a point where iridescent bags, seashell jewelry, sparkly makeup and bedrooms fit for Ariel rule.

How lucky for us, right? Because the sparkle and the magic and the Disneyness of it all is…mermazing. And part of me clearly wants to be a mermaid…but don’t we all?

My shell/rock collection

Me. Chillin’ in a shell. Next to a pearl. Like I do.

Perhaps the best part of this mermaid madness is the headpieces; I don’t guess I’d wear these in everyday life…though I do love me a good headband…

 

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…so I’m really hoping that during Homecoming Week there’s a dress-up day where I could incorporate one of these!

Mermaid crowns:

In the meantime, I’ll be…

  • dreaming of when I saw real mermaids
  • wishing I wasn’t a scaredy-cat on our honeymoon/had dove into the water to see this art (…though the fear of water makes sense, yes? Let’s not forget when someone almost drowned in the Gulf when she was 17!)
  • learning from real-life magical goddesses
  • and pinning more to my “mermaid inspo” board!

que todos os seus sonhos se tornem realidade:

 

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&i can’t help FALLing in love with you.

I’m doing the best I can to soak up the rest of summer…

.tanning

.watching movies with my husband, which we’ve been adding to a must-watch list (including some that would pump us up for school, like “Stand & Deliver” & “Dead Poets Society”)

.grilling out

.playing catch/shooting hoops

.staying up late in tents, eating pickles, looking at the stars and talking about/hiding away from life – all things I love doing, especially during the long-n-warm dog days of summer.

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When school starts up in a couple of weeks, though, I will gladly embrace fall, my second favorite season, and…

.drink pumpkin spice lattes

.wear fun layers

.cheer at football games

.take brisk walks through crisp leaves

.celebrate Halloween/our birthdays/our six-month anniversary/our one-year engagement anniversary!

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If you remember/care/follow me, you’ve seen my “til death do us party” Pinterest board, full of horrifically beautiful images, via “Corpse Bride”, Halloween photo shoots and Poe-inspired parties.

This fall, I’m feeling that gothic romanticism even more, since a. I’m a married woman now;) and b. I’ve been inspired by movies like “Crimson Peak” (I actually interviewed the director, Guillermo del Toro, during SXSW [when I first saw Ryan Gosling;)] and didn’t realize he created so much greatness; we watched several of his movies this summer.), shows like “Stranger Things” (Aren’t you obsessed?!) and books like “The Woman in White” and “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” (I can’t wait for this movie!).

Therefore, this season, I hope you…

.dance in the moonlight Season Of The Witch - A Southern Gothic Tale:

.stumble across beauty

Broken swing on the tree. I would've loved to go through this house before it got in such bad shape!:

.find yourself

Natalia drepina:

.spend time with loved ones

photo tumblr_mr0kog8aNu1snxul7o1_500_zps11f45c5f.jpg:

.take risks (in fashion/life)

.come to our fall festival

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.enjoy my new board – “fall16.

 

The Upside Down

I feel like recently and regularly, my blog posts are combinations of all my recent thoughts/Instagram posts; I’m a very introspective person, and when I don’t have money for a therapist or time for yoga, I get my feelings out through inspirational social media images…and then recap all of that here.

My initial reaction for starting this particular post would be to lead with this: It’s been a weird year, to say the least.

…but – on the other hand – I could ask, “Has it?”

I mean…what makes something “weird”, especially a time in life? Sure, moving and starting a new career and and getting married and all that jazz have been out of the ordinary, compared to my past few years, but moving in general and teaching students period…Not so strange. These things happen every single day.

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So, this leads me to think that it’s just me; I’m weird for thinking it’s weird (getting a little meta, I know). I’m probably overthinking and overreacting and should just go with the flow.

BUT…

(bear with me)

What even isss going with the flow? We’re all here, to live life, on this rock, and we get to choose how/where/with whom we spend that time. And I like to think I soak it all in as much as possible…but I’d also love to say I’m a carefree person…yet I schedule and freak out and plan out possible and impossible scenarios – just in case.

I feel like I should segue now into what my high school English teacher used to tell me: Whatever you’re going through is real, for you, right now. Freaking out about a high school boyfriend or a new job or a bad day may seem selfish, since there are actual problems in the world…but those bigger, worse problems don’t necessarily affect us daily…while at-home, real-life situations do…which is why freaking out makes sense (to an extent).

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Ugh, okay, done – How exhausting!

Let’s move on………

Here are current things I’m stressing/worrying about and why I should/shouldn’t (feel free to offer up any advice at any point;)…

#1: I’m tired.

#2: I don’t get to write enough.

#3: This is reminding me of a previous/similar blog, where I had to remind people that I’m not just being a whiny baby.

#4: I’m not the best teacher in the world.

#5: I’m not the best wife in the world.

#6: I’m a teacher and a wife (wutttt).

#7: I care far too much about what others think of me.

#8: I constantly struggle with kismet, and if I should just make bigger decisions and move again, because I’m not sure if I should live here or in Austin or in New York or beyond.

#9: When I’m not sure what to do with my time, I automatically think, “It’s time for a new IG post/blog!” … though only, like, four people will read this … though, that’s okay, since it makes ME feel better … ???

#10: I think I care too much about “ME” (yet I struggle with self-love…but we all do, to a certain point…Right?!).

I think, inside of us all, there’s a hippie, a free spirit who would love to get carried away by the wind and the music in his/her head and just live life – traveling and exploring and reading and looking at the stars and learning new things.

In reality, though, there are bills and responsibilities. We get tied down by commitments and relationships and fear – which is good and bad.

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It seems like many of my posts trail in to the whole “life is short, so live it well” thing…and it’s true…but I’m too tired to write on that. I’m too confused to discuss the make money vs. be happy debate. And I’m too inexperienced to blab on about why we’re here and what we should be doing.

All I know is this: I’m in control of my life. I make my own decisions. If the majority of me wants to work hard at a job that helps to pay the bills and helps to feed my online shopping obsession, then that’s what I’ll do. If part of me needs to escape now and then, and just talk with friends around a fire or roadtrip to the beach or hide in a fort with my best friend, then I’ll do that, too.

I’m one person, trying her best to be happy and to make others happy. Sure, I fail, and at times, I upset people and get super stressed and get into fights and freak out. But then I breathe, refocus, get up, dust myself off, and keep on trucking…because I have/need/want to do so.

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So I write to remind myself to be the best I can be: the best wife and teacher and friend and daughter and work-outer and sister and employee and customer and blogger and human…because…why not?

P.S. – Have you watched “Stranger Things” yet? You should! I stole my title from there, since “the upside down” is this alternate reality…kind of like the one in my head; when I get into those funks of “what is life” and “am I doing enough” and “stop being so whiny…but care a little more, too”, I’ve decided to refer to that as The Upside Down – a place where I may think too much but where I always come out better and more driven…so visit it, if you dare or if only to realize that you should love you!

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blahblahhblahhh.

ICYMI, my brain is always going and going and going – even when it shouldn’t be. I just re-read my last blog post, and as I combined those thoughts with some conversations I recently had with students, I came to the following conclusions:

Life is short; I think we can all agree on that.

Therefore, if we want to spend our time on this rock adopting cats, attempting to write multiple best-selling novels and watching Real Housewives while eating desserts…that is totally fine.

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To take all these thoughts further, though, I realize I should constantly be striving to be a better version of me…right? We’re under pressure – whether that be from the media or people around us we feel judged by or from ourselves – to be attractive and kind and brilliant and fun and funny…but not too hot or overly nice or nerdy or too outgoing or obnoxiously hilarious.

This year, I feel like I’ve been in a sort of limbo, and I have been thinking a lot about who I am and what that means and if how I come across is correct or acceptable or even okayish. Furthermore, since I’m now a teacher and a wife (weird), I feel like I have to be even more on my toes…yet I still need to be myself…so I should keep living my life in ways I enjoy…but I also need to always be inspiring and educating and pushing these other people…then theyyy can live life in great ways…and thennn motivate others to do the same.

ALSOOO…

Since I wrote the first part of this blog post, I’ve had numerous other similar conversations, such as…

a. Did you know that 20 percent of people in their 20s and early 30s are currently living with their parents and that 60 percent of all young adults receive financial support from parents? Is this bad…or does this say something about today’s educational system (Hello, never-ending student loan debt) and workforce (Entry-level requirements = 10 years in a similar position – But how??)?

b. Did you know that moving back to your hometown – whether you live with your parents or not – can feel super strange, especially if you’re surrounded by people who used to be in your life, then weren’t but now kinda are…? (It’s bittersweet – Just ask me, my bff who’s in a similar situation and this BuzzFeed writer)

c. Did you know that our generation is okay with spending the majority of free time using Instagram and Netflix? Yes, it’s good to have hobbies and get outside and take tech breaks, and doing such things is easier if you live in a city or are surrounded by fun people or don’t mind getting out of your introvert comfort bubble. I am a homebody, and I admit to liking my cat more than most people – but I also travel and read and go play basketball and grab frequent drinks with people. Therefore, I think there needs to be a balance, because it’s become “cool” to be this person who never leaves home and is disgusted by everyone…but when that starts transcending into real life…and leading to unmotivated students, grouchy employees, rude people and to boring/uninspirational people in general…that’s a problem.

Okay, crazy thoughts over! What do YOU think we should focus on while here? How do YOU cope with a million thoughts/pressure/life? What do YOU think about the whole “I hate people” syndrome? When do YOU want to come watch Housewives with me? 😉

I’ll Tell You What I Want…

I hope

that I get to be creative every day for the rest of my life.

that my boyfriend and I are still cool bffs 70 years from now.

polar bears don’t go extinct.

more truly scary movies come out.

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I dream

of publishing at least one book.

of being famous…or at least rubbing shoulders with even more famous people (since 148 = not enough).

that my teeth fall out.

of traveling the world with my loved ones.

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I aspire to be

better than I am.

a happy and healthy mother (to possibly many children, all fabulously dressed).

excited to wake up 87 percent of the time, ready to conquer the day, in some way/shape/form.

someone people enjoy being around and writing letters to.

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I wish I could

get my points across better.

live multiple lives.

pay off student loans faster.

adopt/save every cat out there.

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I am a teacher.

Halfway through my first year of teaching, in the midst of preparing for the STAAR test and directing a one-act play and planning a wedding, I did a little research, to make myself feel a little better, and to learn from others who have been/are in my shoes…

 

Juice Boxes & Crayolas – a cute teaching blog – points out the following facts…

Support system = needed item (and thankfully I have great people I can vent to/lean on!)

Outlet = a creative, de-stressing way to leave the day behind you (and when I have time to blog or read or watch Bravo, it’s a great de-stressor!)

Boundaries = things that must be set, in all areas of your life, especially as a teacher, when it comes to how you interact with kids and when you leave work each day (these have been interesting/different, since I’m teaching in a town of 296…at a K-12 school with 150 kids…from which I graduated…meaning I teach people I went to school with and have known since they were conceived…and teach with some of my old teachers…and my parents)

All those little creatures = precious babies (even if they’re not pure angels all the time…love ’em all anyway!)

Celebrate the small stuff – and the big stuff!

A First-Year Teacher’s Survival Guide taught me that…

Nothing is perfect (so know that not every lesson, test, day, activity will be 100 percent amazing)

No is a word that should be in your vocab (even though it’s hard at a small school, when we’re expected to chip in everywhere)

Not everyone learns the same way (so make sure you’re not centering lessons towards one type of learner, one type of student or one human being)

Raid the supply closet (especially since bratty little teens will raid your closets, leaving you with zero pens come Spring Break)

Track memories (because it will all fly by, and you’ll want to look back and remember who gave you that cute little “I Heart My Teacher” sign)

Fake it (until you make it or until you look like you’re making it enough to get through eight periods, six weeks and/or August through May)

Vent (often. to trusted people. and then suck it up and get on with life again.)

Connect with your kiddos (so that they’ll want to learn more often and so that you can learn about/from them)

Love, Teach – a blog I think I’m now obsessed with – got really real…

…stating facts on how many students this teacher has, what type of students they are, how early this teacher gets to work, how his school deals with discipline and how “even though I love my job and work harder at it than I’ve ever worked for anything, the loudest voice in my head is the one that is constantly saying you’re not doing enough. I hear it all the time.”

 

It has NOT sunk in that I live in Graham, Texas, not Austin, and teach at my old high school – that I teach at all! I majored in journalism and dreamed of being a writer, so I’m glad I still get to write at times (even if it is just sappy, weird blogging). I thought education would be a good back-up career, and I thought that, someday, it would be nice to raise a family in Small Town, America. Now, I’m here, though, and I love the joys of teaching: when I have a kid tell me he gets it, watching students work hard in class so they can work even harder in multiple extra-curricular activities, seeing them take something they know/love and combine it with an assignment, showing that they truly understand and enlightening us all! The cons are…difficult…and I know the first year is the toughest, working in a small school means I’m not just an English teacher but 80 other things, and some kids just do not want to learn or listen, and when punishments nor failing scares them…what can you do?

I, personally, can…

  1. learn from my mistakes
  2. keep being the best I can be (our school motto!)
  3. bloom where I am (what my high school English teacher still tells me to this day)
  4. get creative in finding new ways to get sh!t done
  5. and remember that I’m young, life is short, possibilities are endless, and anything is possible.