Thursday, March 31, 2016

what you should order at a thai restaurant and where to go in Utah!

Growing up, going to Sizzler, Red Robin and Chilis were pretty regular on the weekends. We pretty much rotated between those three, adding in a Mexican place here or there. It wasn't until I got married that I tried so many things, like sushi, indian and of course, THAI FOOD! Mark served his LDS mission in Thailand so he's a big fan and honestly, he had to force me pretty hard to try Thai for the first time. However, after that, I fell in love and it has become my ultimate favorite. 
I realized that a lot of my friends and coworkers have either: 1. Never tried Thai food 2. Never tried anything good when having Thai food.
So I thought I would give you a little guide on what we order and then a few of our favorite places!

The first thing we always, always, always get is Som Tam. 
Som Tom is a shredded papaya salad with spices. You eat it with your hands with sticky rice. We get it on the spicier side, even though I don't love super spicy stuff, but I never regret it because it's always better when it's spicier. This is actually the hottest thing either Mark or I have ever eaten when we got it "Thai Style". Anyway, it's so delicious and we get it as an appetizer. It also is somewhat of a acquired taste, I didn't love it at first but it since has become my favorite.
We also always get shrimp spring rolls because the peanut sauce it comes with is sooooo delicious.
The next few things we rotate getting every time. The key with Thai food (I think) is getting a lot of dishes for the table and sharing.
Okay, so this is Pad Seiw (like oo).
This is probably my favorite. I love the big flat glass noodles and I love love love the sauce that this comes in. I almost exclusively get this with pork and it's so freaking delicious.
Okay, the next thing that I love is Pad Gra Pow. I also get this with pork and you eat it with Thai rice. The problem I have with this dish is that there is only one place we have been to that minces it like the picture, it's my favorite part about the dish! This is just a bunch of spices and vegetables and not as spicy as the pad se eew.  If you are feeling unadventurous, then this is the route to go. Just tell yourself there is no Oyster sauce and you will be fine. 

The next thing I don't get every time, but sometimes I crave it so intensely that I have to get it!  Massaman curry is really good. For me, it's a mix of eclectic and what i'm familiar with, beef and potatoes. Only get this dish if you aren't bothered by coconut, because that is what the broth is made out of.
Then, for dessert, we occasionally do mango sticky rice, It's Mark's favorite! 
Okay, so our absolute favorite Thai restaurant is in Sandy, right on 10600 S off the freeway entrance. It's called Simply Thai. 


Another one that we tried recently that we enjoy is Tea Rose Diner in Murray. I have lived very very close to this place my entire place and have never eaten there until recently. It gives Simply Thai a run for its money, that's for sure!


We had a favorite in Orem that recently closed and we are pretty sad about it. 
What do you like when you get Thai? What's your favorite place?

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

CARE PACKAGE GIVEAWAY

Hi guys! 
Today I am bringing you one of my absolute favorite giveaways which is basically when I go crazy in Target, Old Navy, etc to put together a care package for one of you cool people! Here is a picture of the haul my last care package winner received...
So what do you have to do to enter? It's simple! Just follow the Rafflecopter's instructions and you are good to go!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good night and good luck!
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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Thank goodness for curling wands and maturity

I'm popping in really fast today because there is an insanely good deal going on right now and I just can't sit back and watch you guys miss out.

First, let's talk about my hair curling journey. Whenever I wanted to look cute, my Mom would have to spend an hour or so the night before getting my hair into sponge curlers, resulting in this....

Ack. I cringe.
Eventually I just gave up on the hair curling thing and let my sister do my hair for any big events. Which led me astray at times.

Then when I moved into Alpha Chi....a few people still lead me astray.

 Finally though, a fellow AXO (I can't even remember which sorority sister!!!) came along and showed me how to curl my hair myself.

However, I never realized that tight ringlets are not cute, even as recently as two years ago(woah), hence the ringlet engagement pictures..


Anyway, after I got married I found a blog called Twist Me Pretty and she used this wand called the NUME wand. It was so expensive, over $200, so I would never or could never convince myself to buy it. BUT THEN SWEET, SWEET BLACK FRIDAY and the price tanked to $50, so I took the plunge.

It has changed EVERYTHING.




Not only do I feel like my hair looks a lot better, but i'm able to go a lot longer in between hair washes because I curl my hair one day and it lasts for three to four days. It also is really quick and it has a really good hair protectant coat on it. I have also burned myself only once, which is impressive for me. I cannot say enough about this wand.

AND YOU GUYS, IT'S ON SALE FOR $20 AND I'M FREAKING OUT.

All you have to do is click here and enter SALE19 to get the classic wand for $19.99. That's the one I have, in a 25 mm.

If you are interested in the other wands, you can enter these codes for a great deal on those as well...
SALE29--Magic Wands $29.99
SALE89--ANY styling set AND free shipping
SALE24--Silhouette 

THAT IS 70% OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just get one and thank me later. You might have to practice with it but it's way worth it. Let me know if you have any questions and this sale ends TOMORROW so hop on it!


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Friday, March 25, 2016

book club: FURIOUSLY HAPPY













Man guys, i'm really bad at using my camera. I need lessons. Anyone know of a place or someone who could help? 

Anyway! About a month ago I decided that I needed to read more. I'm kind of having a quarter life crisis because I feel like I don't have any hobbies. I like to craft, but you can only craft so much. I like to read, but I haven't read a good book in a while and I always put reading on the back burner if the book isn't incredible. I also realized I need a social life. So, a book club was born. The first book we read was called Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. I laughed my butt off during the first few chapters and then got so bored that I couldn't get through it. Luckily, it was a consensus in our book club that everyone felt the same. 

We picked a new book that is going to be a movie soon, Me Before You. I started reading it last night, really begrudgingly, and actually fell in love with it and stayed up way too late because I couldn't put it down. I'm excited for our next discussion!

If you want to join, let me know! They are held at my house in Lehi. 

Have a good weekend!
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Monday, March 21, 2016

HOPE AND CARE #WITHSYRIA

The day I developed a passion for history was the day when I started learning about World War II in school. I remember it so clearly. My little mind was constantly reeling with questions about how it happened, how nobody did anything. The answer I got is that people were scared to do anything or people didn't know. 
For so many years I wondered about those people who were uneducated or scared and I just wasn't sure how that could be possible. Then, five years ago this month, it happened again. Refugees started flooding out of Syria and all around me I saw people that were too scared and hateful to feel inclined to offer help. I had put such emphasis on studying these types of people during WW2, all my life trying to understand them, and here they were right in front of me and I still couldn't understand them. It made me question my belief that the world is inherently good.
Then I saw this video and I heard about CARE. CARE is a humanitarian organization who is working to fight global poverty. They have a special project going on that, when I think about it, makes my eyes start to fill up. CARE noticed that former WWII refugees were writing to Syrian refugees, offering words of hope and started documenting.
One story that particularly struck me was about a man named Gunter Nitsch. He was a little boy when his family was forced to leave East Prussia during World War II. They made their way, illegally at times, to West Germany. 
Gunter Nitsch saw what was happening in Syria and sat down to write a letter and a special delivery, a CARE package. The letter went to a little boy named Zaher, a Syrian refugee.


"I am 78 years old and live in the United States,” his letter to Zaher began. “Seventy years ago, when I was 8 years old like you, I was also a refugee. I'm writing to share my story with you to let you know that, no matter how bad things may seem, there are good people in this world who can make everything better.” Nitsch goes on to tell his story to Zaher, at the end offering kind words.


A week later, sitting on the floor cushions of a cold, bare room of an apartment in the Jordanian city of Irbid, little Zaher gazes curiously at the 8x10 photo of a grey-haired man smiling back at him. “He reminds me of my grandfather!” Zaher exclaims from inside the apartment where he lives with his parents and five siblings.  



Though he struggles a bit, Zaher insists on reading the letter from the stranger who sent him a box of goodies. He’s struck by Gunter’s story of heartache, of being forced to leave his childhood behind. “I would love,” Zaher says, “to tell him about my life from Syria, that we had a house, trees, a backyard.”
 Zaher happily plays with the toys that Nitsche sent him with the letter, 
Zaher’s father enjoys seeing his son have a rare light moment.  “Living through this war has affected Zaher’s psychological state so much,” he says. ‘He’s quiet and doesn’t engage with people as much. His life is just so different now than it was when we lived in Syria. He doesn’t have many possessions now, like his toys. Things are not available the way we need them to be, and I cannot provide for him like I did when we were in Syria. My hands are tied here. I have nothing to give now.” Zaher’s father said Gunter’s letter had an almost haunting familiarity to it.  “I felt like it was me who was also suffering right with him,” he said. “It was like reading my life.”

Zaher and his father study the picture of Gunter with his dog, Senta. They miss their own pets – some pigeons and the beloved family cat. They had no choice but to leave them behind.

Zaher gets up and begins his usual routine to prepare for school, stuffing his backpack with textbooks. Then he adds his new notebook and pens, the ones sent by a stranger who lives half a world away but whose words are a reminder that maybe, one day, everything will get better.
After seeing this kind of experience, CARE decided to  open up a channel for anyone to be able to encourage these individuals, just like Gunther Nitsche did. 
So what can you do to help Syrian Refugees? 
1. Write a letter of support to a Syrian Refugee child 
They only allow 255 characters, so it is short and sweet. Here is mine...
"My name is Riley ______ and I am a teacher in the United States. I have taught many Syrian Refugees and i'm amazed by them. They are so resilient. Despite their circumstances, they are ready for the next challenge ahead of them. They are brave, they are strong. I wanted to remind you today that you are somebody who matters. You are worth fighting for. Even on days when hope feels impossible, remember that you are and will make a huge difference in the world and that is something worth persevering for. I hope you can feel my love, wherever you are. I think about you often and pray for you even more." 
A letter of hope could mean the world to one of these children who are losing it day by day. 
WRITE A LETTER HERE
2. Make a donation. You can donate any amount you would like, or you can donate a $35 hygiene kit, a month of food for $70,  a $114 food voucher or $300 for livestock support. This is all secure and 100% of the proceeds go to these refugees. 
DONATE HERE
I'm so honored to be asked to be writing about this today. Having students who escaped Syria last year cracked my heart wide open on this issue. I am getting paid per click on this campaign meaning not just viewing the blog but clicking the links and checking out CARE's website, and with that money I am donating back to the CARE cause. #WITHSYRIA
Let's help Syrian Refugees today by donating or sending a special delivery, a CARE package. 
Thank you to CARE for caring. :) 
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Saturday, March 19, 2016

GLAM BAM THANK YOU MA'AM!

I have been a member of Influenster for....oh man, like four years now? Yeah, it's been forever. Occasionally, I qualify for something called a "vox box" and it's basically a box full of goodies that I try out and review, if I want to, there is no pressure.
I recently got two boxes and I have yet to post about either! The first was called the GLAM VOX BOX! It was filled with goodies that I used to pamper myself during a very stressful work week.
The first thing I saw when I opened the box was a pack of those nice razors that I can't afford to buy! They were Venus Razors and I also was given  "Venus with a touch of Olay Vanilla Cashmere Shave Gel" which yes, is a mouthful. The razors....I wasn't impressed. Maybe it's because I use mens razors and they have an extra blade, but I felt like I wasn't getting my hair? I don't know, I wasn't a huge fan. However, my skin was a lot more soft after using those razors. THE SHAVE GEL ON THE OTHER HAND....I usually just use body wash to shave my legs and after using the shave gel I realized I can't really go without it ever again. It also smelled amazing, it was like lavender smell to me. So great.
The next thing I got were, "Cutex Advanced Revival Nail Polish Remover Pads" note to cutex: shorten the name. However I loved these! I posted about them on my blog Facebook page but they smelled good, they helped to heal my cuticles that are always cracked and they were just easy to use. I think they were probably designed for travel purposes but I will own them forever now, mostly because Mark hates the smell of nail polish remover and these smelled awesome!
Not Your Mother's dry shampoo
Yeah, I go through a lot of dry shampoo because I average about 4-6 days between hair washes. I actually really liked this brand only because it didn't smell at all. I hate nothing more than the weird powdery smell that some dry shampoos come with. This one is pretty good, I might switch it out with the kind  I use now (dove).
Q-tips Precision Tips
So I got these Q-tips for beauty purposes, like painting your nails...but there are so many! I will never use all of them if I just use them for cosmetic purposes. However if you are having a manicure party they would work amazingly.
SheaMoisture Facial Skin Care Collection
I received a bunch of anti-aging face masks, creams, etc. They were ok. I wanted them to smell like something and they didn't. I also got a zit after I used them which is abnormal for me, so that was a bummer.
Altogether, there were some misses with the glam vox box but the major wins made me forget about the lame products! 
ALSO! 
I got a sports bra from C9 Champion from a different voxbox. They sell them at Target and they are probably the cutest sports bras I have ever seen. It was incredibly hard to decide which one to get. They are comfy and they hold my ladies up and in place while I run...not an easy task! So that box was an absolute win! 
Side note, when I was checking out at Target I had the coupon to get my sports bra and the cashier was like "where did you get that?" and I was like "um, I have a blog and sometimes I get stuff.." (so awkwardly because I felt like such an idiot) and she JUDGED. ME. 
I probably would have too....
Have a good week!  

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Monday, March 7, 2016

thoughts


The other day I was talking on the phone to a friend and she was like "what's up lately?" and I was like "oh my students are doing this and my students are doing that" and she was like "uh no, what's up with you?"
and that is when I realized I have become like moms who have a baby and then you never hear about anything else.
Except my baby is teaching. 

But seriously, I got so embarrassed looking back on my instagram and blog posts, it's been a while since I have posted about anything other than teaching. The problem(?) situation(?) with teaching is that it is whole-life consuming. I grew up with my Mom teaching and I think I just thought it was normal to be working late into the night, have huge stacks of papers on every surface in the house, and many more oddities that I now know is definitely not normal, yet here I am working very late and my desk is currently totally covered in papers.

Even on the worst days of teaching I question why I chose to teach, but I always come back to "because I love it" and then the conversation with myself is over. My students had a career day last week and the presenter said "think about if you won the lottery, would you still want to do your job?" and I would, I really would! Maybe I would go part time, but I would still teach..

anyway, I kind of understand those Moms who I didn't totally understand until now and also if you still read my blog, hi! I'm glad you are here, despite the totally boring lack of content lately.


My main reason for writing this post today was to talk about Mark. First, Mark and I equally hate posting about significant others on social media. However I was just thinking last night, man, it's hard to be married to me. Mostly because yeah, I love to work and I work a lot. It's hard being married to a teacher. That is the number one thing that sucks about being married to me. There are the big things like human inadequacies that everyone has but that I tend to dwell on and then there are tiny things, like I leave every cup i've ever drank half full on the counter and our house turns into Signs. But man, Mark handles it like a trooper. Ever since I got super busy at work, he consistently has the house cleaned when I come home as well as dinner made. He puts the leftovers in tupperware for my lunch the next day before he eats his dinner. He washes and folds my laundry. He pushes me to be a critical thinker. I think I might just fall apart without him. Last night as he came to talk with me before I went to sleep, I just almost started crying because I was like "this is why we get married, so someone can come tuck you in and talk about board games and if chicken wings are better on the bone or boneless and life goals and stuff." 
And even though I think with my personality, I wasn't really built for marriage, I sure am grateful for it and for him. 










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Thursday, March 3, 2016

recap of the week

-finally done with Mock Trial
-got rear ended and the guy took off
-shaved off half my eyebrows
-got an unlimited amount of oatmeal raisin cookies because they were the only ones left because everyone hates them BUT I LOVE THEM
-got all my grading done 
-ate highly unsatisfying meals
-got a half day at work to get stuff done
-laughed the hardest I have in a long time with Mark and I's face swap on snapchat


it all evens out, I guess.
RIP eyebrows :((((

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