15 Things About Me

1. Age: 27 (28 in less than 2 weeks!)

2. Home Country: USA

3. Favorite Food: Indian curry and pizza

4. Favorite Countries: More than one…It’s very difficult to choose.  Italy, Croatia, Scotland, Thailand and Czech Republic

5. Favorite Books: Harry Potter (is that obvious?), The Giver, Eat. Pray. Love, and the His Dark Materials trilogy  (I’m getting back into reading for fun (finally), so if you have any favorites, send them my way!! :) :)

6. Hobbies: reading, exploring my city, eating, baking, blogging, planning stuff for my classroom, travel, organizing

7. Favorite Quotes: “Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be.” –Elizabeth Gilbert
and too many more to name…oi.  Go here.  :D
http://www.pinterest.com/stacey086/quotes-that-inspire/

8. Favorite Musicians/Artist: Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran

9. Favorite Color: Deep purple (was blue, then green and now it’s purple)

10. Favorite TV Show: So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD), Game of Thrones, Walking Dead and Downton Abbey

11. What I’m Passionate About: Women and Men’s Rights (Feminism), Travel, Fitness, Family, Education, Photography, History, Becoming Debt Free (GAHHH…America and it’s student loans will be the death of me), Dance (and the arts, especially in schools) and Genealogy

12. Goals for the Future: Continue working here in Korea to save a bit more money and to pay down some debt (my student loans look like they’ll be here for awhile….)

13. Favorite Movies: The Book Thief, The Best Exotic Marygold Hotel, Monsters University and Harry Potter 6 and 7 (parts 1 and 2) Pitch Perfect and Despicable Me (and too many more…oi.)
Oh!  I just saw The Maze Runner yesterday.  I really liked it :)  I’ll have to add that to my list of books to read when my Kindle (Happy Bday to me!) arrives.

14. Favorite Season: Usually summer, but now that I’m a pedestrian that has to walk all the time and living with minimal A/C…fall/autumn is becoming my new favorite.

15. Pets?: One white hamster named Munch-a-Saurus Rex, or “Munch” for short.

Oh, My Booty!

Just started back at the fitness shenanigans two days ago and feeling good.  The weather has been a HUGE factor because it’s gotten cooler recently and the humidity is fading away into a distant, sweaty memory.
Anyway, been working on getting my stamina back because I honestly haven’t done much working out since being in Korea (it might look otherwise on Facebook, but I assure you that it’s a ruse.)
I’ve been doing some light jogging and trying to get my strength back…and trying to get back at the pull-ups (fell off that train when I went to Japan).  Oi…lots off falling off this fitness train.
I don’t mind working out, but the healthy foods bit is a struggle.  I just love baking :(  And pizza.  And curry.  And naan.  :(
Everything in moderation, they say, but that’s difficult too.
Doesn’t help that fruit costs the same as my (would be) first-born child.

Sure, maybe making excuses, but oi.  At least I feel great post-exercising.  Minus my sore legs and booty.  It’s a good sore though, so not to worry.

Also, I’ve been browsing around on this site called Look Human–I’m madly in love with some of their fitness-related shirts.  They look really cute and comfy.  Annnnnd they ship internationally.  A bit pricy for shirts, but I also rarely buy clothes over here, so most everything I have is from pre-Korea.  So…looking is fun at least.
I think I might get two of them though because they have a thing for Free Shipping over $50 and 10% off on your first order.

These are the ones I’m looking at :-P

Lookhuman.com Adipose

Learned a new word with that one, too :)  He’s so cute…even if he is fat!  haha :D


:D haha

Anyway, there were a few more, but that’s the gist.  I’m looking mostly at the first two :-P

Ok, off to bed.
Happy Weekend! :D (or Friday…depending on where you are…)

Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Photos (PHOTO HEAVY)

I’ve decided that I will post my journal entries, but I have to re-take a few photos of some of the pages, so here are some photos until I get time to post the entries.

I present to you…1/8 of the pictures of my time at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Osaka, Japan!  :D  (Don’t worry, I chose my favorite photos.)

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The entrance to the HP neighborhood

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Hogwarts Express!

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Zonko’s Joke Shop

The Harry Potter neighborhood was towards the back of the park and you walk through a winding path lined with tall shrubbery, then it takes you to the entrance of Hogsmeade Village.  The Ford Anglia (flying car) was among the shrubbery too!  :)  Pre-park photo op!  :)

You could take photos INSIDE the Hogwarts Express but there was a huge line and it cost about $30 (3000 Yen)…so we passed on that.

Zonkos looked almost exactly like the movies and had tons of treats and gags from the books except…the Muggle version…so less-cool IMO (in my opinion).  Very kid-friendly, but not for someone looking to save some yen.

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Hogwarts Castle!  Wahoo!

We loved the amount of DETAIL in everything that we saw.  That was probably one of my favorite parts.  They tried to be as faithful to the books as possible so if you’re a super-fan like myself, you won’t be disappointed.  (They had a lake too!)

We had a Fast Pass for the Forbidden Journey ride inside the castle so we did that first.  It is a simulator ride and was pretty cool.  The inside had loads of stuff from the movies to look at.  Talking portraits (in Japanese…sadly (for me)), Dumbledore’s office, Gryffindor common room…

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Entrance to Dumbledore’s office

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Bought some butterbeer…which is DELICIOUS by the way.  I got the frozen one and my friend got the regular.  We spent an extra $3/4 (speaking in dollars because most of my family is from the US) on the souvenir mugs.  Worth it.  My drink was still cold a few hours later.  The only thing is that Butterbeer is really sweet (non-alcoholic) (tastes a bit like caramel and something else) so we probably could have shared.

*We had Pumpkin Juice as well (apple juice, pumpkin puree and one other kind of juice that I forgot…apricot??)…anyway…it was pretty tasty.  It tasted like pumpkin pie in juice form…in a good way?  Not sure how that comes across, but it was good too.  Sweet, but good.

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Took this photo at my house just now–My friend has pictures from the park, but she’s a bit slower with the uploading than I am…

Anyway, we rode the Flight of the Hippogriff ride after buying the Butterbeer.  There was a HUGE line, but we wanted to do everything so we took our Butterbeers in line and played some Harry Potter hangman on an app on my phone.

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We saw Hagrid’s hut while waiting in the line.  :D

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Crate for the Monster Book of Monsters…which broke free by the looks of it!  Watch out!

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House banners outside Hogwarts castle

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My House :D  Slytherin House: Home of the resourceful and ambitious
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Hogsmeade Village

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Hogwarts Choir performing some songs

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The toilets even looked like school toilets (at least from the movie) with Moaning Myrtle! (in Japanese..sad day.)
She was in both the men’s (“Boys”) and women’s (“Girls”) toilets.
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Lunch in The Three Broomsticks
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Wizeacre’s Wizarding Equipment (clothing and souvenir shop)

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Honeydukes

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Honeydukes
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Honeydukes

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Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans–unfortunately they were sold out! :(
Honeydukes

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Chocolate Frogs–with collectible cards!
I bought two…a bit expensive at ~$9 (900 yen) a piece but worth it to me since I can’t buy them anywhere else
I have one unwrapped and half eaten and the other is still wrapped up (Salazar Slytherin was my first card.)

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Inside Zonko’s Joke Shop
“U No Poo: The Constipation Sensation That’s Gripping the Nation!”
Techhhhnically, this should be in Weasley Wizard Wheezes, but ah well.  You can have it Zonko’s,  Nice to see it in the shops :) haha

Classroom Update

This is my latest classroom video update :)

https://fbcdn-video-d-a.akamaihd.net/hvideo-ak-xpf1/v/t43.1792-2/10387281_10102510212990000_1127990701_n.mp4?oh=97220d9a24a4f182ef247d06d058972c&oe=5415CC1A&__gda__=1410713671_97fb97c78f84d492ee863da31dbfa7a1

I changed a few things since the last video a month or so ago.

I didn’t speak during the video because it was after school hours and I felt weird chatting away to myself in the quiet school when others were working…but anyway, I’ll give you a written tour :D

0-20 seconds: My latest work :)
I found this on Pinterest–it’s called Tired Words and I thought it was an awesome way to get kids to use different words.
I hear “It is delicious.”  “No delicious” so many times a day…drives me crazy.
I also just moved the bookshelf again and I think it’s going to stay like this.  I like that it creates more of a reading nook than the way I had it before (flush against the wall).  I actually just bought two pillows (chair cushions turned pillows) at the dollar store (3,000W or about $3/each) and I had two pillows that I bought when I first arrived for whenever I got around to buying a futon, but that still hasn’t happened, so I’m bringing them to my room to get some use out of them.  Those will be added to that corner tomorrow.
Each student also has a good behavior sticker chart–good behavior only–and I have different colors for whenever they finish one.  I give them little prizes from Daiso (basically a dollar store) when they finish their chart.  The first one is cheap chocolate, one is a pencil with a fun animal eraser on top, another is a thing of bubbles (I found a bunch on sale in a bundle).  Anyway, I spend money, but it’s not much and it helps keep my sanity in the classroom and the kids get into it.  They like the stickers and seeing who has the most stickers and what color will be next.

:30–Another new thing I added on Friday.  This is a fake window in our classroom and I’ve decided to do a “Break Time Challenge” with fall vocab words that I found on Teachers Pay Teachers…for FREE.
I printed and laminated them and hope to change them out every few days so the kids get exposure to more words and get practice with ABC order.  In a fun way.  Heh…so sneaky.  :)

Around :35 is basically the student station.  Kind of a catchy name that I just made up, but this area doesn’t have a real name.  The student’s work folders are here and extra pencils and erasers for students that forget (so I’m not driven crazy by the sounds of “I don’t have a pencil today” and me wondering why students leave the house without supplies.)  They all know to just grab a pencil when they need one.  We’re working on only sharpening pencils before class and at breaktime with some of the newer kids, but overall, this is pretty effective.  Kleenex/Tissue and hand sanitizer are also here.

Next up are the careers.  At the beginning of class, a student from each class chooses the next career and three photos to go with it.  I talked about this in the last post though.  I do this on Mondays and the students rotate.

I added the ordinal numbers on Friday and my desk is around :56.  Birthday wall is around :58.  Part of me wants to do something special for the kid’s birthdays, but then again…I dunno.  Maybe just a little certificate or something?  Still thinking…

Around 1:00 you can see the “Today is”, “Yesterday was” and “Tomorrow will be” section.  The kids in my last class help me change these out and they seem to enjoy helping.
Word Wall at 1:15…also new!  I love having this because it’s nice to have an organized place to put all the frequently asked spellings and that massive black shelf is finally gone.  Wahoo!  I also added these fall words to the word wall.

1:30–You can see the area where we have story time (sometimes…could be more, but the kids don’t seem to pay attention as much when they sit on the mat).  The red chair is also used for time-out.  I rarely do time-outs, but sometimes I just need to remove a kid from the situation and this is an easy way to do it.  We also have a magnet board with the abc letters.  I picked up the alphabet letters at Daiso for about 3000W (about $3) about a year ago and the kids love it.  My school bought the magnet board for us.  :)
The colored bags under the long table in the back are for recycling.  The paper needs to go out…oi.  Not looking forward to that.

Anyway, that’s that!  :)  Hope you enjoyed my (somewhat blurry) tour of my/our room!
Halloween decor to come in October!  Yay!

Side note:  I made a direct link to one of my main classroom Pinterest pages over there on the right >>

In Remembrance

In honor of my Dad’s (would-be) birthday on September 6, I’ve compiled a list of things that make me think of him.

*Country music, but specifically: Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney and Garth Brooks
*Christmastime
*Nascar or when anyone says “I was watching that” when you change the channel when they’re obviously sleeping.
*The Lake of the Ozarks
*Learning to drive in the snow in a massive parking lot
*My eye color–My eyes tend to change colors but their go-to color is almost the exact shade that my dad’s were
*Rottweilers
*Classic Rock–specifically Styx
*My stubbornness
*Trans-Siberian Orchestra
*work-a-holics
*Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying”
*Jeff Foxworthy/Bill Engvall/Ron White
*My future wedding
*St. Louis sports (Cardinals/Blues/Rams)–He took me to my first hockey game however many years ago.
*Importance of education
*using good handwriting and good spacing when writing and doing long math problems–“We can go to the store and buy you another notebook if you need more paper. Write neatly.”  I still remember him telling me this throughout elementary and middle school.  My mom was the go-to person for reading, writing and grammar help and my dad was the math go-to person.

Words I’d use to describe him:
hard-working, innovative, ambitious, driven, quick-tempered, but curious and passionate about learning and about life

I’m happy to say that I believe I’m like him in many ways.  I think I’m brave, ambitious and a very hard worker. I’m also curious, passionate and excited about the things that life has to offer.  We both constantly strived to make our lives better and to try to achieve and do more.
I do remember him being fairly quick-tempered though and I can’t gloss over that fact.  I knew I was loved but I also felt that I had to prove myself to him and only toward the end did I realize that he was proud of me.  Unfortunate, but I’m glad I was able to hear it.
However, I appreciate many of the things that he taught me whether it’s having nice handwriting or opening up my music world when I was younger.  I remember him (both parents, but this is an entry about one) teaching me how to drive in a big snowy parking lot.  I remember learning in his big Ford F-150 and his love of having different cars.  I also am (secretly) eternally grateful that my eyes seem to be settling on the color that his were because I have a piece of him that can’t be taken.  All I have to do is look in the mirror and I’m able to bring him back to me.


I wrote this the week before my Japan trip and edited a few things just now.  It’s a fairly personal piece but I like having a place where I can write down my thoughts and feelings about such things.  So…here you have it.

Japan and Wizarding World of Harry Potter

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Osaka Castle, Osaka, Japan

I have a bit of a headache, so this might be a fairly short post, but I wanted to make a post about my trip to Japan (Osaka, specifically) and THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER at Universal Studios Japan (USJ).

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Hogwarts Castle, Universal Studios , Osaka, Japan

The theme park was everything I was hoping for it to be and I’m happy that I bit the bullet and bought the plane tickets.  (Which is how it usually works out…just buy the tickets.)  Also, I loved Osaka, so that was another perk.
The only downside about the theme park was that is was CRAZY crowded.  Which, it’s only been open for two months, and we knew it expect it, but it was a bit nuts.
The morning wasn’t too bad, but it got more and more crowded as the afternoon went on.

Also, coming back to a three-day week is pretty awesome.  :)

So, I wrote TWELVE pages (front and back) in my travel diary, and I was thinking of posting it here as I really don’t feel like re-hashing all of what I already wrote…would anyone even read that?  I dunno.  Anyway, I’ll leave a space for it and come back and add it later.

^^Hogwarts castle in Osaka :)

I’m also working on decking out my classroom for fall, so I’ll have another post up soon with the finished product.  Just give me a few more days :)  I’m working on making a big tree for my door with a bunch of colored leaves…time consuming, but should be pretty.  My boss also loves my classroom, so yay!  I like decorating it though…it helps if I also enjoy my workspace…and it helps the kids, so it’s a win-win.

I have Speaking Parties occasionally with my classes (I try for once a month), where I create a list of speaking topics and they sit around and pretend they are in a cafe and just chat about topics off the list.  I bring in snacks and drinks to create a sort of “coffee shop” vibe and they still end up reading off the sheet instead of talking naturally…but, that’s ok, right?  I guess they have to read before they learn to create the questions themselves.
Anyway, it’s pretty fun and the kids generally seem to like it.  Also, Costco is the main source of imported/foreign goodies around here and they recently got pumpkin pie in stock for the holidays, so I’m thinking of picking one up for tomorrow’s speaking day…for…cultural purposes.  So they can…ya know…learn what pumpkin pie tastes like (and because I tried it last year for the first time…I know! *shock* Say whattt? *gasp!*) and I think it’s delicious.
But mostly because that is something they’d never normally have and it would be a fun and different fall treat.

Mmmmm! Pumpkin pie on a Friday!  Oh happy day!

Also, 22 days til my birthday! :D

//New Favorite Song:
One–Ed Sheeran

Still loving this one too:
Richard and Jasmin–“All of Me”
The Voice Kids–Germany