Monday, September 30


Happy Monday, friends. My weekend was fairly productive and I'm really happy about it. Not last week, but a previous weekly wishes of mine was to be super productive and I have been trying to keep up with that every week because really, I am much less stressed when I don't procrastinate. So a productive weekend = a happy girl!

So last week's wish was to make a few steps to eat a little bit healthier. I must admit I did not do so well. I ate next to nothing in regards to vegetables. I had one delicious salad and that's about it. I was a little bit more successful on the fruits front: 4 out of 5 days at school I ate a huge plate of mixed fruits for my snack. Yum! And my most successful feat was the water. I drank a ton of water every day and and because of which I had to go to the ladies room at every single recess/lunch period during the day.

My wish for this week is to plan out my long weekend for when my friend Katie gets here! She is coming in less than two weeks and we really have no plans yet for what we are going to do. We want to head to the beach so I need to research and book the hotel/our mode of transportation. I also want to think of some fun things for us to do when we are here in town. She is my first guest coming to my little apartment so it will be nice to think of some fun and entertaining things for us to do!

Sunday, September 29


Hey guys! I am participating in an awesome giveaway with a wonderful group of ladies. The giveaways is hosted by Melyssa and the prizes are $100 to amazon, $100 to etsy and $30 to starbucks! If you're interested in winning, which you most likely are, enter in the rafflecopter widget below. Good luck :)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway Rules

1. Giveaway is open internationally.
2. Giveaway winner will be selected and contacted by email by October 10th. If you are the winner, you MUST respond to that initial email within 48 hours. If you don't, a new winner will be selected and will be held to the same terms.

Friday, September 27


Dear work: Thank you for paying us 5 days early. Because my private lesson family went on vacation this week and didn't take me, I have been out of my typical extra spending money! Thankfully my job at school decided to pay us a full 5 days ahead of schedule. Normally I would say no thanks, because that is an extra five days to wait for the next pay check .. but this time I don't mind. Dear Teriyaki cashier: My name isn't really Maria. I just tell you my name is Maria every time I place my sushi order because trying to explain that my name is like "Rita" with a B in front of it every single time, while holding up the line, makes me feel uncomfortable.  Dear everyone: Watch this video. Then make sure you definitely watch the last song after minute 8. You're welcome.

Have a great weekend!

linking up with friday's letters

Thursday, September 26



As most of us bloggers do, I love fall fashion. Fall is my favorite time of the year to get dressed in the morning. I fell in love with fall when I went to college in the Northeast. I learned how to wear scarves and oversized sweaters like it was my job. And then I learned about boots. I never wore boots until i went to college and then I bought about 4 pairs. There is something about them that just makes you feel powerful when you are strutting around. Fall clothes just give you so many options to mix and match your skinny jeans, with your long sweaters, and scarves with your tunics and leggings.

These are just a few of my Pinterest finds that I have been lusting over recently. Can you believe I haven't experienced fall weather since Spain in 2010? I'm going on my third season without my beloved fall wardrobe. Thankfully here in Costa Rica we get the occasional cool night where I can whip out my tall brown boots and maybe a cardigan .. if I'm lucky ;)

What are your favorite fall pieces?

Tuesday, September 24


This weekend we celebrated Paris's 25th birthday! Happy birthday to my love.
Since his actual birthday was yesterday, we decided to celebrate this weekend. We slept in super late both days and enjoyed tons of yummy food and good company!

On Saturday we went to a super cute Mexican place for brunch! I say brunch because we slept in super late and got around to eating at about noon, not because they actually served brunch (I wish!). I ordered juevos rancheros with gallo pinto (rice and beans) and Paris ordered fried eggs with gallo pinto. The eggs were much too spicy for my taste but the fruit smoothies we ordered were amazing.

Sunday we headed to a typical Costa Rican restaurant that I have been wanting to go to for weeks ever since our friend raved about how amazing the rice with shrimp was. So we called him up and headed out to the country where this restaurant was. Let me just tell you that the food was amazing. I was too concerned with eating that the only picture we got was of me with a ton of food in front of my face!

We wanted to try as many things on the menu as possible so we were sharing it all, I swear!

It was a great weekend and I am so happy my love enjoyed himself.
Happy birthday, Babe!

Monday, September 23


Good morning, Monday. This week's theme for the weekly wishes picture is innocence. I took this picture a few months ago on the mountain property that my boyfriend's parents own. These were the only flowers around and they were growing up onto the barbed wire that makes up the fence. The irony of the location for these flowers is what makes them innocent in my eyes.

Last week for weekly wishes, my goal was to organize the time I spend on writing blog posts. I was super successful last week with my goal! There was a big chunk of time where I sat down and wrote 3 blog posts for the week. What a great help that was! And the other post I already had the idea figured out so it took me no time at all to write. Hopefully I can keep up the habit of pre-writing a few posts a week.

This week, my goals are very simple! 1. To drink more water and 2. To eat more fruits and vegetables. I have been seriously slacking in the eating healthy department so I thought I would start slow this week. I usually drink about 1.5 bottles of water throughout the day. This week I want to drink at least an extra bottle of water every day. I also want to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in my diet. That means choosing a plate of fruit at school for my morning snack and finding more vegetable in my meals throughout the day! The fruit part is easy .. but let's see next week on how I incorporated those veggies.

Sunday, September 22


We are currently at the beach with Paris's parents enjoying (hopefully, as I write this on Saturday) a beautiful day relaxing on the sand, enjoying the sound of the waves and the heat of the sun. Update: we were rained out. hard. So we are currently still under the covers in bed watching movies.
Reading: my new Extremely Essential Camera Skills tutorials
Writing: my first reaction paper for my online class about using animals for psychological and medical research.
Listening: to the new Kings of Leon album that I have been streaming for free on iTunes. They are one of my favorite bands to just listen to an entire album on repeat and this new album does not disappoint.
Thinking: about how fast this school year has gone by! Our last week of classes is the last week of November so we are only just a few weeks away. I cannot believe how quickly this year went by it still feels like April in my mind.
Hoping: that Paris has had a great birthday weekend (more on that this week) and that he enjoys is actual birthday tomorrow!
Loving: Say Yes to the Dress. I haven't been able to get enough of this show lately!  I've been able to find a whole bunch of episodes on YouTube and just keep them on as I do other things like laundry and paint my nails :)
Wanting: to find out if I got accepted to grad school or not. Okay, so maybe I just sent in all of my materials on Friday but I just don't want to wait!
Needing: my private lessons to stop canceling on me! I do love the free time but I like the extra cash more. hopefully next week will be a full week again.
Feeling: nervous yet excited for the months leading up to the end of 2013.

linking up with the sunday currently.

Saturday, September 21


This is my very first self portrait I took with my DSLR that I bought last December.
Since then I have done my best to teach myself how to use my camera with some success and sometimes not so much success. Even still, I'm really excited about my most recent purchase of Extremely Essential Camera Skills! I have had my eye on this tutorial for many months now but just never pulled the trigger. I really can't wait to start reading and watching the tutorials so that I can fully understand the power of my camera. Hope you guys are ready for a lot more pictures!

Thursday, September 19


It is just about that time again for fall TV shows to come back around and I am pretty excited. I love being able to relax after a full day of work and tutoring with one of my favorite shows. With such a full work schedule this year I don't have time to keep up with a ton of shows so here are my favorites.

I (still) love this show and I don't think it will ever get old for me. Even the first couple of seasons I could still watch over and over and not get bored. Unfortunately I think this show is soon coming to an end. But in its 10th season it's still got me as a fan.

I'm really looking forward to Scandal coming back. This show keeps you on your toes. Luckily in Costa Rica i have access to ABC so Thursday nights I usually pick up some sushi and end the week with Grey's and Scandal.

Parenthood. There's not much else to say about this show other than it'll get ya.


To switch it up a little bit: American Horror Story. Not gonna lie, the first episode of the first season I watched this show in the dark on a rainy day and couldn't keep my hand off of my eyes. Now coming back for its third season I am really looking forward to the new story line about a coven of witches.

What are some of your favorite tv shows?? 

Wednesday, September 18


I am now one of those girls who buys clothes for their tiny chihuahua dog: I bought rocco a hoodie.
You guys, it's "winter" here aka it rains all the time. And not just hot humid rain, but cold, cuddle up under the blanket and drink hot tea rain. And I feel so bad for my little pup when he doesn't want to crawl out of his bed because he is too stinkin' cold. So I bought him this hoodie and yes it has a fluffy ring around the hood but I swear he looks so cute and I know it is keeping him warm. I mean come on, just look at him!

Tuesday, September 17


This past Sunday, September 15, was Costa Rica's Independence Day. For weeks leading up to last week, my students were constantly being pulled out of class to rehearse for their performance on Friday. Every year the day before the 15th (or the Friday before if it falls on a Sunday like this year), schools put on performances called "actos civicos." These actos civicos are a mixture or short skits, typical dances, readings, and songs all in honor of Costa Rica celebrating its independence from Spain in 1821. I watched a full week of rehearsals and couldn't have been more proud after the final show.

Sunday morning, on the actual day of celebration, we walked down the street to watch the parade go by. It reminded me of being at home on July 4th with my parents, watching the parade go by with all of the different bands playing, officers marching, and baton twirlers twirling their batons. It is pretty similar in Costa Rica except the majority of groups marching are students holding flags or playing the drums. If you can't tell from the faces of these kids in the pictures, it was hot. And this was the end of the parade so I can only imagine how long they had all been marching in the blazing sun.

Happy Independence Day, Costa Rica!

Today I am linking up with Nicole and Rachel for the friends around the world blog hop. I hope you'll go check out some of the other great blogs that are out there!

Friends Around the World Link Up

Monday, September 16


Happy Monday, everyone! I'm ready to check-in on my weekly wishes from last week and get the week rolling with a new goal! So last week my goal was to get ahead. I was able to do exactly as I had hoped and got so much accomplished on Monday that the rest of the week felt like a cakewalk. If only every week I had Monday free of classes to do as much work as I pleased .. I wish!

My new goal for this week is to organize my blog and the way I manage it. I mainly want to focus on organizing the time I spend writing posts. This weekend I was able to chat up Nicole, whose blog is so lovely, and thankfully she was able to give me some great tips! The first thing I am going to do is come up with a weekly layout of which posts I will write on which days. For example: every Monday I will have a weekly wishes post, reviewing my progress from the previous week and setting a new goal for the current week. It is my hope that having a weekly layout will make writing my posts go much more smoothly and efficiently so that I can free up some of that time I normally spend searching the internet for inspiration about what to write.

What about you? What are your wishes for the week?

Sunday, September 15


Reading: the Delirium series. Another series like The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc that I couldn't put down. I started the first book months ago and finally found the time to finish the third book this morning.
Writing: the admissions essay for a grad school program I am applying to! Man, it has been a long time since I wrote something like this and it is just as not fun as I remember.
Listening: to Carried Away by Passion Pit. can't get enough!
Thinking: about everything I have/want to get done this week. The work never seems to slow down.
Wishing: I was in Italy right now with my parents. The picture above they sent me from their adventures today! They are pretty lucky to be traveling around Italy for two weeks and I sure wish I was with them!
Hoping: I finish my whole grad school application within the week.
Loving: the patriotism I have seen in Costa Rica this week. Their Independence Day is today and they are definitely proud of their country! More to come about that during the week.
Wanting: all the fall TV shows to come back! I don't want to wait another few weeks ;)
Needing: more exercise. I really need more exercise but not sure when that is going to happen!
Clicking: through pinterest a little more often lately. I can't get enough of all the fall fashion ideas.

linking up here for the sunday currently.

Thursday, September 12

students can be mean

this year i have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with students from 6th grade up to 9th grade. i have been able to learn a lot about what kind of activities and lessons work for some ages and which others don't. i've also learned that i love working with the sixth grade. they are young enough to still be interested in school and learning games, but old enough to be able to have conversations and discussions with and i love that.

and then comes seventh grade. i had a seventh grade class last year that gave me some trouble in the beginning of the year. by the end of last year we had formed a great bond and we were all a little nervous that i might not be assigned to their class again this year. now that i do have them again they are amazing and so much fun to work with. 

but the seventh graders this year. oh how these seventh graders try my patience. with only three months left of school i still feel like a brand new teacher every time i walk into their classroom. and to make matters worse, they treat each other with just as little respect as they do the teachers. unfortunately one such situation has gotten so out of control that my favorite student in that class has been pulled out of school by her mother because of a bullying problem. bullying like this girl finding a dead bird in her locker one morning. in my almost two years at this school i have never seen any true bullying, other than john telling suzie she wasn't invited to his birthday party.

unfortunately i never got to say my goodbyes to this student because she just didn't come to school one day and i was told she wouldn't be coming back. i didn't get to tell her good luck in her new school and i didn't get to tell her that i know she will succeed and do great things. i didn't get to tell her to continue working as hard as she did and that her dream of studying at stanford would surely come true. i didn't get to tell her that bullies are just that, bullies. and that one day they will get what is coming to them.  

i know kids can be cruel sometimes and i know these things happen. 
but i just wish they didn't.

Tuesday, September 10


Today's challenge: describe a distinct moment when your life took a change.

Back in 2009, I went to Waveland, Missisippi to help with Hurrican Katrina relief. I can't quite remember why I signed up because I didn't know anyone that I was going with. Before our trip we had to do months of fundraising activities which is where I met one of my best friends (who happens to be coming to visit me next month). We finally headed down to Waveland in March and the trip was a mixture of fun, exhaustion, sadness, appreciation, and adventure.

We were staying in these military type tents with two rows of bunk-beds and a separate outhouse type tent with the bathrooms and showers. Our group was a mix of 18 guys and girls from a fairly well-off private college and needless to say we were not prepared for the week. Our jobs entailed a lot of cleaning up. Cleaning up of garbage and debris that were still piled up in Waveland 4 years after Katrina. Cleaning up dressers and tires, childrens' toys and baby high chairs, entire boats out of peoples' backyards. It was challenging stuff. One night, just to get out of the tent for a little while, we loaded up our two big vans and headed to Walmart. When we went to the cashier to pay for our knick-knacks, the woman asked us if we were volunteers (because we clearly looked/sounded like we did not belong). After we enthusiastically answered yes, she just started crying. She was crying and saying thank you so much. That was impacting.

I took a lot of things from that week. But I think the thing that changed my life the most was a new understanding of myself. I knew from that moment on that I wanted to help other people. That I was meant to help other people. I didn't necessarily know that I wanted to become a teacher but it certainly helped to guide me where I am today.

When did you realize your life took a change??

Monday, September 9


Hello again! Two posts today? On a Monday?? Can you tell I am being productive?
Today's challenge was to take the Myers Briggs Type Indicator assessment. I remember taking this in college for one of my management classes and I got something like 99% introvert. When it was time to share some of our results in class, I did not raise my hand high enough (in true introvert form) and got called out on it in front of the whole class. For my 99% introverted self, talk about embarrassing. Apparently I have come out of my shell a little bit since then as I only scored 68% introvert this time ;)

As I read the profile for someone who identifies as INFJ (Introvert, iNtuition, Feeling, Judging), I definitely felt as if I was reading about myself. I thought I would just highlight some of the points that I most closely relate to. All analysis taken from here.

Though affable and sympathetic to most, INFJs are selective about their friends.

 INFJs have a knack for fluency in language and facility in communication. In addition, nonverbal sensitivity enables the INFJ to know and be known by others intimately. 

 ...find themselves caught between the desire to express their wealth of feelings and moral conclusions about the actions and attitudes of others.

 ...distancing is merely an indication that the seer is hard at work and focusing energy into this less efficient tertiary function.

 The INFJ under stress may fall prey to various forms of immediate gratification.
Pretty cool how such a short quiz can sometimes be so accurate!
Some famous INJFs: Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Thomas Jefferson.

What are your letters??

weekly wishes

good morning, monday! today i am linking up with melyssa for her weekly wishes series. i'm pretty excited to be taking part in this series because i think it is a great idea to set little goals or wishes for each week and here i can be held accountable.

 my wish for this week is to get ahead. normally, i plan out almost every hour of the day so i will know what i have to get done each day in order to successfully complete all of my lesson plans, private tutoring, grading, blog posts, etc and not have to be doing a ton of work on the weekends. however this week i have a slight advantage and my wish is to get enough done so that i am ahead of the game

. my students are on a field trip today to the sanitorio and i was not chosen as one of the chaperones. being as i just went there a few weeks ago with some friends and the last school trip i went on wasn't so successful, i am not too disappointed. i am still at school today, but with no kids around, i am positive i will be able to get as much work done as possible. my plan is to complete all of my lesson plans for the following week and to get a head start on the reading/note taking for my online psychology course. 

do you think i can do it? check in next monday to see how i did and to see next week's wishes!

Friday, September 6

dear costa rica,

dear exams: i graded 112 of you this week. that was not fun. thank goodness i won't have to do that again hoepfully ever. dear online class: you were officially started this week! i've never taken an online class before but this is an easy intro class to get my feet wet and so far so good! not to mention i rented the textbook for my kindle for only $30. long gone are the days of buying $150 textbooks! dear costa rica: i love you, you know i do. but the people here are really bad sports! yes, your soccer team lost to the USA a few months ago, but that doesn't mean you should conveniently "not find" any training space for our players and "not have any balls available" for them to practice with. sportsmanship. we'll just see who comes out on top tonight. dear students: unfortunately there have been some bullying issues at school that make my blood boil. i hope one day you realize how wrong your actions were. bullying is never okay.

i hope everyone has a nice relaxing weekend. i know i will!

linking up with friday's letters.

Wednesday, September 4

happy blogtember!

so i am a day late starting blogtember but i am super excited that jenni is doing this challenge! it really motivates me to get into blogging full force which is just what i need right now. today's prompt is If you could take three months off from your current life and do anything in the world, what would you do?

this is really hard to answer because there are so many things that i would just love to do but three months to do all of them is not enough time! one thing that i would do if i could pause life, pack up and go, would be move to france. ever since i realized i could live and work in a country where the native language is not english, i have wanted to learn another language. sometimes i amaze myself with how far my spanish has gotten and how i can communicate with almost any spanish speaking person. (there are still those people who i just cannot understand no matter how hard i listen!). the best is when someone tells me, man your spanish is really good! and i pat myself on the back.

so naturally, i am interested in learning another language and right now i would choose french. it would be so lovely to immerse myself for three months with french pastries and a french student trying to learn english so we could exchange our time practicing each others native language. if only, right?

what would you do with your three months?

Tuesday, September 3

a $2 boat ride

even though our weekend did not turn out as we had hoped, there were still some parts that made it worth it. we spent saturday at the beach that was just down the road from our house. it was much smaller than any other costa rican beach i have been to but it was very beautiful and quite peaceful.

at one point a man came over and offered us a ride on his boat for $2 each. a bunch of us said, sure why not and hopped on. what a lovely ride. he took us to an island that was full of pelicans. i'm talking hundreds of pelicans sitting on the rocks, and sitting in the trees, and flying around. hundreds of them. of course the closer we got, the more they flew away but the last picture up there you can see a bunch of them.

it was nice that something so simple as a short boat ride made me feel so much better and less stressed about what was waiting for me when we got back to the house. sometimes it is the little things that you have to appreciate rather than stress about the negative things.