Saturday, May 30, 2015

Art Journal Challenge || Week 1 Update

If you recall from this post, I gave myself a challenge of working in my art journal every day while I'm on summer break.  So now that I've completely my first full week of summer break, here is my update!

I did work on my journal every day, but I did not complete a whole page each day.  A couple of days were spent trying to figure out what to do with the cover.  I messed with it and messed with it until this is what I ended up with:

I don't really like it, so I'm going to work on it some more this next week.

And here are the pages that I did complete:

Testing out my white paint pen

Trying out lettering styles

Trying out flowery designs

What have you been up to this week?
Alone with my tea

Friday, May 29, 2015

Me and the Internet - A Love-Hate Relationship || An Essay

The internet was still fairly new when I was growing up.  So were personal computers.  I remember going to my dad's classroom and getting so excited to play "The Way Things Work" on his school computer.  We got a home computer when I was in middle school, but I didn't really have a need for it.  We didn't have any games, and apps hadn't been invented yet, so what was I supposed to do with it?  Mavis Beacon taught me just about everything she could, and I was a typing pro.  I satisfied my word-processing needs by sitting in my bedroom, nestled in a pile of pillows on the floor between the bookshelf and the desk, typing away my emotions on my grandfather's old typewriter.  My most emotional and heart-felt poems were saved for scraps of yellowed paper, of course, and I saved them in little bundles wrapped with twine, "hidden" on my bottom shelf.  That was much more romantic anyway.

By the time the internet became a household necessity, my dreams of becoming a world-famous writer had changed, and all I wanted to do was "chat" with my friends on MSN.  We spent hours talking about mindless nothings, updating our statuses with witty or overly-emotional phrases with hidden meanings, and the other internet time was spent researching for school projects.  YouTube wasn't invented yet, neither was Facebook.  And I still preferred to read books in my free time.  I didn't obsess over my looks and I was a fairly confident person.  That's not to say that I thought I was perfect, but I certainly wasn't insecure.

Fast forward about 12 years, to the present day.

Now... Now is the era of YouTube and blogs.  Mommy blogs, travel blogs, lifestyle blogs, DIY blogs, SO MANY BLOGS.  There are people making a living from blogging.  There are people making a living from YouTube.  And I am the reason why they are successful.  Because people like me watch them and read them, and follow them, and can't get enough of them.  I love them.

But now I feel like the internet is starting to betray me.  Blogs and YouTube are starting to influence me in a negative way.  It has been a gradual process, but now I watch these YouTube Beauty Experts and start to realize that I don't have perfect skin, perfect eyebrows, perfect hair.  There are so many products that I "need."  The internet is starting to show me all the things about myself that I didn't know I was supposed to hate.  Like the fact that I have freckles, or that my eyes are "hooded."  Or that I don't have an effortless golden tan.

It was a slow process, getting to this point.  I've never considered myself to be an insecure person.  We all have aspects of our appearance that we don't care for, but I never gave it much thought.  I've always had boyfriends, and I always assumed I was attractive.  But eventually, after watching hours and hours of "foundation for perfect skin," and "how to make your eyes look bigger," and "the best fake tan," it started to get to me.  My subconscious is telling me that I'm not good enough, and it's showing itself in weird ways.  Suddenly I'm asking my husband if I need to shave the peach fuzz above my upper lip, and trying to justify spending $20 on mascara.  And I don't like it.  And what I start to think is, if I, a grown woman, almost 30 years old, can be so influenced by this new internet culture, how much more so are the teens and pre-teens of this current age?

I'm lucky that I have some perspective and life experiences to remind myself that this beauty-obsessive internet is not normality.  I'm lucky that I have the discipline and will-power to stop watching so many YouTube videos, to stop spending so much time on Pinterest or Bloglovin'.  I'm lucky that I have a husband who loves me no matter what and reminds me that a little peach fuzz above my lip is not something to freak out about.  But not everyone is so lucky.  Most teenagers don't know life without an iphone and high-speed internet.  They live in a very confusing world, and I'm worried for them.

As with most things I write, I don't really know how to end this little essay.  I suppose the whole point of writing was just to say this: Be mindful of what you are watching.  Be careful with what you put into your mind.  Because everything you see and listen to has the potential to affect you, whether you realize it or not!

Alone with my tea

Photo via || Free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


|| EATING ||

On my first "real" day of summer break (the first work day I didn't have to go to work), I made myself a healthy breakfast: Garbanzo beans with spinach, feta cheese, and a poached egg, with a side of strawberries and raspberries, and, of course, tea!

Also, please notice the placemats... this is a big deal... Peter and I finally agreed on something for our table!  You don't know how many times we've argued over table cloths, runners, and placemats.  I love these because they are colorful (how in the world did Peter agree to colorful placemats?! It must have been a good day), and they tie in the blue from our rug and the yellow from the flowers.  The placemats are from Target, so are the flowers (couldn't find the link to the flowers; maybe they're discontinued?)

|| LIVING ||

We got a dog!  Well, kind of.  We are fostering this doggie while he goes through some treatments.  Then, when he gets a clean bill of health we will probably officially adopt him.  He was a rescue that my coworker saved.  The vet thinks he is a Jack Russell Terrier mixed with Pug (curly tail) and about 3 years old.  He is very affectionate, calm, and sweet.  He is still very timid and scared sometimes.  He loves people and will not play with any of the toys we bought for him.  He follows us around and plops down wherever we are.  He loves sitting under the table and simply ignores the comfy bed we got just for him!

He was abandoned by his previous owners, and the neighbors said that his name is "Little Bit."  We don't really like that names so we're trying to transition to "Little Bear," or just anything else.  However, since he's 3 already, he's pretty stuck with Little Bit.  So we'll see how that goes.

So far he has learned "sit," "lie down," and "stay."  He also is already house trained, so that was great!

We've been having crazy thunderstorms!  Look at the size of that cloud above our pool house!


Have you heard of the site  They also now go by the name (they tried switching groop dealz to eleventh avenue but it wasn't a great success, so they now have both.  Both sites have the same items, basically).  I love this site because it has great affordable stuff.  This dress was only $13.99!  I've ordered 4 things so far and they've all fit perfectly.  

This is a straight shift-dress, so I added a belt to make it a bit more flattering... Please ignore the mess in my bedroom... this is real life, you know... unmade bed, clothes on the floor, dirty mirror.

|| LOVING ||

And, last but not least, I'm currently obsessed with Jamberry Nails.  My good friend from college became a Jamberry consultant, so I hosted a party for her.  Now I'm hooked.  They are basically nail stickers that stay on forever.  Seriously.  They don't budge!  The only reason I've had to take them off was because my nails grew out and it started looking weird at the cuticles.

I love that there are so many designs to choose from, and I've gotten so many compliments.  I also love that they're nontoxic.  I HATE the smell of nail polish, so this is a big deal for me.  I also love that once you apply them you don't have to wait for them to dry!  They also do not damage your nails at all.  So many great things about this product.  The only downside is that it takes a bit of time to apply them.  But once they're on, they will not budge!

These are the "Nepal Relief" wraps... 100% of the profits from this particular design went to help the victims of the Nepal earthquakes.  Helping people and having cute nails = win/win!

Jamberry also does regular nail polish, but it is 5-free and less bad for you than regular nail polish.  I'm not as impressed with the formula, I found it a little difficult to get it completely opaque (took 3 coats), but I love the color and I love that it's 5-free.

If you want to try out Jamberry, contact my friend, Marie via her Facebook page.  Or you can order directly from her site.  Let me know if you give them a try! *

Ok I think that's all I have to update for now.  Later this week I'll show you my progress on my art journal.  So far I've painted flowers... typical

Alone with my tea

* I am in no way compensated or rewarded for posting about Jamberry.  I just really love the products and want to share the love.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Travel Tuesday || Kissing Alpacas in Cusco, Peru || REPOST

When I first started my blog, I had about two readers (I wish I could say they were my mom and dad, but I don't think even they followed along back then!).  So I thought it would be fun to repost some of my very first posts, from about 4 years ago.

In Cusco, some people train their llamas and alpacas to be super friendly with people.  Then tourists, like myself, will pay a quarter or two to get some funny pictures.  This was the kissing alpaca.  He wasn't even part of the "staged photo op" that included his mother and owner (dressed in festive, traditional Cusco-ian garb).  This little guy was naturally friendly, nuzzling us, letting us pet him, following us around...  

Travel Tip:  Before you visit Cusco, don't forget to ask your doctor to prescribe medicine to prevent or relieve altitude sickness!  I didn't, and as a result experienced painful altitude sickness - It felt like the worst sinus infection EVER.  My entire face was so puffy, my head felt like it was going to explode! An acquaintance we met there had it worse - he had to be hospitalized and hooked up to an oxygen tank!

Alone with my tea

Monday, May 25, 2015

Thoughts || Friendship

Moving to a new place is hard.  It's difficult to make new friends, especially when everyone else has known each other since they were born.  One of the hardest things I ever had to do was graduate from college, and leave the place where I found love and acceptance, people who understood me; where I found confidence (and my identity, in a way); where I became an adult.  But when I moved to a new city, found new friends, forged new relationships... and then I moved again.

And now I find myself at an awkward stage in life, where friendships are more difficult to create.  I'm not in any young college-age cliques, but I'm also not in the early motherhood stage, where most people my age are.  I find myself missing my friends and family back home, missing the people who truly know me and understand me.  I try to convince myself that true friendship goes beyond proximity and age, that the friendships I've created will last forever, and that new ones will develop eventually.  

I have to believe that true friendship is sometimes difficult to find, but when you do discover a kindred spirit, you will be friends forever, regardless of where you live or when you get to see each other.

What's your advice for making and/or keeping friendships?

Alone with my tea

Friday, May 22, 2015

Summer Challenge: Art Journal Every Day!

Summer break starts in a week!  I'm desperately in need of a vacation.  Teaching is hard work.  I come home exhausted every single day.  My creativity is completely gone, and I really need some inspiration.  In order to refresh my artistic endeavors, I've decided to give myself a summer challenge: work in my art journal every single day.  I am giving myself a flexible goal of completing one page per day, but that's not going to be the main focus.  10 minutes a day, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, doesn't matter!  The main focus is just doing it. 

Who wants to join me in this challenge?  I will be officially starting May 25th, but I've already completed a few pages!

I will be posting weekly updates here on the blog, and if you want to be featured, make sure to tag your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter posts with the hashtag #AWMTSummerArtJournal.

Here are some supplies that I plan to use in my journal:

Not sure what to journal about?  Check out these Travel, Technique, Word, and Nature Prompts:

Do you have any more prompts to add?

Don't forget to tag your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter posts with the hashtag #AWMTSummerArtJournal.

Alone with my tea

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Travel Tuesday || Sunday Traveler || Repost || PERUVIAN ANTS

When I first started my blog, I didn't have many followers.  Now that I have a few more, I'm going to repost some of my very earliest posts, especially related to travel.  Hope you enjoy!

These are the coolest ants, ever.  It's such a funny sight to walk upon a row of walking leaves!  We took great care not to step on any of them!  I wish I had a better camera so I could have gotten closer shots!  

(By the way, these are leaf-cutter ants.  They are tiny ants that cut leaves and carry them back to their nest.  They pile them up to make a compost in which to grow fungi, which they eat.  You can read about it here.)

This picture was taken in a village called San Jose, right outside of Pucallpa, Peru.

Alone with my tea

Monday, May 18, 2015

I signed my contract.

It's official.  I signed my contract.  I'm staying here for another year.

With that comes relief, knowing I will continue to have a monthly paycheck, health insurance, 401k, etc.

But I also feel a little bit antsy.

I recently realized that I have moved every year for the past six years.  This will be the first time since college that I will stay in the same place for a second year in a row.

Kinda cool.

Kinda scary...

...Around this time each year I start to think about "what's next."  Where can I go, what can I do, what bigger and better thing is waiting ahead?

As the above quote so accurately describes, I think I will never be content.  I will always wonder what's ahead.  That's just part of who I am.  Some people daydream about babies and motherhood and home decor.  I dream about Bali, and Australia, and Paris, and Egypt.

In the meantime, here I am.  Staying put.  Trying to make roots.  Trying to bloom where I'm planted.  Trying to live a normal life, whether we are here for two or 10 years.  So maybe I'll get a library card.  Maybe I'll order the local paper.  But even as I make friends and settle in for another year, I know I'll always be "haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere."

Alone with my tea

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Lost My Bloglovin Followers!!! :(

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

When I switched from .blogspot to .com, my blog disappeared from Bloglovin!  So now I have to add  it again and "claim" it on Bloglovin, but sadly I have lost all my subscribers.  If you used to follow, please make sure you are now following

I hope you will all read this and follow along!  Sorry for the inconvenience!  But I do have some fun posts planned for this summer!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Pardon the confusion

I'm in the middle of trying out some new blog styles and layouts.  Please pardon any confusion or weird things that might happen until I get it all figured out.