Monday, January 30, 2017

book review: calling me home #rileyreads

The only books I read fall under two categories
-book club books
-books that the bestie style girls recommend

Bestie Style girls are three women that have the best taste in everything, but especially books. They also think I'm a creep, I'm fairly sure of it. I comment on their grams sometimes and they actively ignore me...haha oh well! They have good taste! 
So anyway, one of the girls recommended this book and another one of the girls commented that she read it in one sitting, so I knew it had to be next on my list.

This story is about two women, 80 year old Isabelle and 30 year old Dorrie. Isabelle and Dorrie don't know each other super well, Dorrie is Isabelle's hairdresser. However, Isabelle needs someone to drive her from Texas to Ohio with no explanation. 
The book has every other chapter from the different women's perspectives, and Isabelle's perspective is mostly flashbacks to when she was growing up in the 1930s. 

I'm going to be careful not to hype this book up too much, but I LOVED IT! I read it in one sitting, not because it was a "quick" read but because I couldn't put it down! It has been a long time since I read a book that I couldn't stop reading, so this was super refreshing. I couldn't really get that into Dorrie's story, but Isabelle's story had me turning the pages like a maniac! I didn't see the ending coming at ALL and I cried like a freaking baby, in the best way possible. This was basically the best of both worlds to me,  historical fiction and a really deep novel that makes you think. Read it immediately so you can laugh, cry and appreciate how far the world has come. 

 photo riley-sig_zps51d1cb9c.jpg

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

book review: landline #rileyreads

"You don't know when you're twenty-three.

You don't know what it really means to crawl into someone else's life and stay there. You can't see all the ways you're going to get tangled, how you're going to bond skin to skin. How the idea of separating will feel in five years, in ten -- in fifteen...

She didn't know it at twenty-three."

Okay, when I summarize this book I want to be careful. I read the back cover and I feel like it spoiled it! So let me do a better job for you and just ignore the back cover.
This book is about a television writer named Georgie McCool. What I wouldn't do for a name like that!!! Anyway, so it's the classic "she works too much and is ignoring her family and her relationships are suffering." She decides not to go on a family vacation over Christmas to stay home and work which...upsets her husband. Understandably. So the rest of the book is about her trying to save her marriage. 
I was expecting not to like this book because more than a few friends told me they hated it, but I was already 100 pages in so I felt like I might as well commit. I actually really enjoyed this book, mostly because I related to Georgie SO MUCH! Every flaw she had as a wife and a person, I have. So it was interesting seeing her life play out and trying to be a better human while not sacrificing her work dreams. I don't know that it was successful in wrapping everything up at the end...but I felt like Georgie gained some perspective and was going to make some positive changes. It was also a fast read, I read it in a few days just when I had time before bed. I would say it's worth your time, for sure!

 photo riley-sig_zps51d1cb9c.jpg

Monday, January 23, 2017

get ready with me

I filmed this on Snapchat and then felt weird and deleted it, but I had a bunch of messages asking me to put them back up! So I made a video that isn't very good ya go! :) 

Products Used
Crest White Strips
Anti-Chafe Cream (Primer)
Loreal Anti-Redness BB Cream
Maybelline Matte + Poreless Foundation 
NYX Wonder Stick (Contour)
Makeup Revolution Highlighter (Golden Lights)
Milani Baked Blush
Loreal Voluminous Mascara
Loreal Voluminous Primer
Morphe 350
Morphe 35W
Morphe 35T
Morphe Little Palette Coffee Toffee is SOLD OUT
Morphe Highlight Brush
Morphe Blending Brush
Real Techniques Blending Brush
LipSense, Pore and wrinkle minimizer, daytime moisturizer, join my group here.
 photo riley-sig_zps51d1cb9c.jpg

Saturday, January 21, 2017

book review: the chosen one #rileyreads

I am in THE BEST book club ever, only because we actually meet every month...haha! I tried starting my own book club and we just could never find a good time to meet. So I quit my own book club and have been in Bon's Book Club for about six months. I have read some good books in that time, my favorite being The Nightingale. 
In preparation for our 2017 schedule, we got together for dinner and each one of us brought three book suggestions for our assigned month. Then the group voted on which book to read out of the three! It was seriously so hard to narrow down my picks to just three. It was also hard to pick just one of everyone else's options. There are so many good books in the world. My three that I brought were.....
  •  The Rules of Inheritance by Claire Bidwell.  My favorite book that I think every human should read. 
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi 
  •  The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
The group tied between the last two books so I picked The Chosen One because I had heard it led to good discussion.
The Chosen One is about a young girl, Kyra, who lives in a polygamist community. She very generally likes her life, but she does break the rules because she has a secret boyfriend, hates the prophet and she also visits this library on wheels every week. Everything seems somewhat okay for a little bit. Then, the Prophet of her community decides she must marry her sixty year old Uncle, a man who already has six wives.  The story is about Kyra dealing with that.
So I read this book in about an hour. It's a super quick read, which was actually pretty disappointing to me because I felt like it could have gone in depth about so many different things. It ended so abruptly which made it kind of unsatisfying. I also felt like it was doing the story a disservice by making it for young adults. It could have been a lot more powerful if it was lengthier and more for an adult audience. I didn't enjoy the author's writing, either. I wasn't sure who her audience was and she left gaping holes in the different character's backgrounds.
I was also pretty surprised reading it, I knew it would be sad but it's way more devastating than I thought, for more reasons than just the fact that a little girl who hasn't even gotten her period yet is forced to be an incestous bride. 
I liked that there is a huge underlying theme of how power corrupts, but it isn't super obvious which makes it really powerful. I would love to teach this book to my students because there is a lot there in terms of themes, character development, symbolism, etc. 
Overall though, I was fairly disappointed in this book as a book club book. I think the selection of non-fiction books about polygamy are much more interesting. However, I think it was a good read if you don't need to analyze it afterwards.
3/5 stars
 photo riley-sig_zps51d1cb9c.jpg

Friday, January 20, 2017

be happy

Lately I have been super reflective about life. I guess it comes with the new year territory but also I feel like I'm hitting quarter life crisis. Like, what makes me happy? Should I be content with where I am in life? Should I be pushing myself even more? I'm only 25, I have so much time left, what can I do with this life of mine? I also have a major case of "keeping up with the Joneses" and I get really confused when people my age are buying houses and cars, even having babies. Not that I want a baby, but still. I am like, "how are people affording this!!" and I tend to get down on myself when I see people doing all of these things. If I hadn't chose teaching, our lives would be so different right now. If Mark and I had waited to get married, he wouldn't have had to take a year off of school and would have been done a year ago, things would be so different. It just goes down a dangerous road when you start thinking like this!

In 2016, especially the last six months, I have been working on being patient with myself as I grow and work on new goals. I will be continuing that in 2017, and probably the rest of my life! I am also going to work on being happy with where I am right now. Focusing on the positive, being more appreciative of the people in my life and just being grateful in general. It's going to take a lot of patience with myself when I start focusing on the negative, something that is very easy for me, but I really believe in the power of positive thinking so I think that focusing on being happy no matter the circumstance will really help my overall life.

What is your 2017 mantra? Cents of Style, along with having this awesome colorful wall you see, has some great shirts that fit whatever your 2017 mantra is. You can snag one HERE with the coupon code INSPIRE17 and it will take 50% off the lowest marked price and FREE SHIPPING. The code is valid 1/20 through 1/22.

Have a good weekend! Mark is driving at Sundance Film Festival this weekend. You may recognize some of the guys he is driving, like this guy and this guy. It's a girls weekend for me! 
 photo riley-sig_zps51d1cb9c.jpg

Monday, January 16, 2017

pink leather jacket

Confession time.
I am currently taking up two closets and a dresser with all of my freaking clothes....yet I rotate between like four outfits, and this is one of them. I really need someone to come look at my closet and give me a fresh perspective on my clothing, ya know? 
I am head over heels in love with this pink leather jacket. I feel like it is very on brand for me. Basically anything that can go with black jeans is my aesethic. Guess how many pairs of black jeans I own? Whatever you are thinking, double that. 
Anyway, I met up with some cute girls I met through blogging to take some pictures on Saturday. I felt basic x 10 but it was fun to get dressed up! In my reader survey, people wanted to see more fashion posts and I definitely took that seriously...haha! We said to bring 2-3 outfits and I showed up with 6...haha and that was after majorly cutting down. So get prepared to see more soon.
Also, Mark told me not to go with the choker but I was like, "it works with the outfit!" and then it was crooked in these pictures and I didn't notice. Fail!! Haha. Oh well. I linked all the stuff I'm wearing below. I couldn't find the exact pink jacket from F21 plus size section but I linked similar ones. I would recommend the BooHoo one because a few times a week it will go on sale for 60% off. My choker I am wearing is from there too, linked below.

Today I have the day off, as most do, and we are going to eat somewhere downtown (SLC) and then see Lion. Mark is driving for Sundance Film Festival this year and he starts working Thursday, and he has an insane schedule. I also have the busiest week of my life somehow with meetings, class, and book club so we won't be seeing each other for like another week! I'm excited for the stories he will bring home from driving around who knows who this week....we have heard some great stories from people who have driven in the past so I'm eager to see what happens.

Have a good week!

 photo riley-sig_zps51d1cb9c.jpg

Sunday, January 8, 2017

weekend recap///3

This was the craziest week since I went back to school on Tuesday. Honestly this week has felt as long as my whole Christmas break! A lot of it has to do with the weather. In Utah, the snow has been out of control! I don't remember it ever snowing this much or being this cold down in Utah County. When I lived in Logan (in Northern Utah) I was used to it, but more south it's pretty crazy when it gets so cold. 
On Tuesday, it was so hard to get to work. The roads were so bad! I got stuck getting off the freeway and I was lucky to get out! White knuckles don't even quite cover it. Thankfully, the district gave us a late start on Thursday so I could get to work safely. Then on Friday the pipes burst at my school and water was everywhere! It was just a weird week.
Friday night  I didn't take any pictures (blahhh) but we hot tubbed at our friend's apartment complex and it was actually really nice. 
Saturday morning I went to City Creek to get my phone's battery fixed and to exchange that jacket I got at Forever 21 that Mark said looked like "Ed Hardy". The thing that sucks about F21 (other than they use underpaid workers and their quality generally is the worst) is that you can never return, just exchange. However when I went to get the cost of my jacket put on a gift card, the beautiful wonderful clerk told me that City Creek was the one store in the nation that was piloting money back returns! I could have kissed her face because that jacket was $50!! So that was so great.
I drove back home and the weather was fine, it even looked like it was maybe going to be sunny later!  
I did some cleaning at home and then Mark and I decided to go back to Salt Lake to eat at one of our favorite Chinese places. During this time it had started snowing, but it didn't look too bad from out our basement apartment window...haha! We left and made it down our street before we realized the roads were SUCH garbage that we were going no where. We also had exactly zero food in our fridge so we barely made it to the store and home before we hunkered down for the night. This is exactly why I hate snow! I am a control freak so anytime I don't have control, I'm NOT DOWN FOR IT. I was so annoyed it canceled our plans and made for a boring night. 
It's supposed to be a week full of snow and freezing rain and I hope that changes because I honestly don't know if I can handle another week of white knuckle drives everywhere. It wears me out!

Anyway, I digress. Here is our meal plan for this week!

Since I have gone back to school on Tuesday nights, we have a leftovers/fend for yourself night on Tuesdays.

Sunday: We tried to recreate the meal that the snow storm ruined from our favorite Chinese place. It obviously wasn't as good but it worked! You have seen the recipe for this General Tso's chicken on my blog before. You can see that post here. We also used the ingredients we got for Banh Mi and put them in egg rolls. So it was a pork, cucumber, cilantro, carrot egg roll. Very yummy! Then of course, cream cheese wontons for dessert. So scrumptious.
Monday: Mark tried a new recipe from the cookbook I gave him for Christmas. I can't post the recipe here because it's copyrighted and if Anthony Bourdain wanted to sue me, he would win. BUT! I found some similar recipes on Pinterest here and here. It was tasty. If you haven't had Banh Mi, it's basically a Vietnamese sandwich and it's very good. People get so sensitive when they hear a word they don't understand involving food. If that's you, pretend I just told you that it's a steak sandwich with a great marinade and yummy veggies and you'll be fine. Banh mi is one of my favorite foods. If you are looking for a really good one, go to Oh Mai in Salt Lake or South Jordan. They are the best there. When making it yourself, remember a few things. The first thing is the bun. That is the key to the whole sandwich When bun shopping, pick a really soft yet crunchy bun. Another thing is if you're hesitant to try it, don't put daikon in it. Daikon is a radish but some people don't like it. Other than that it is just really yummy.
Wednesday: Remember all that pork shoulder we marinated in the ramen noodle broth for ten hours over Christmas break? We saved it because it was easily shredded and used it for pulled pork sandwiches. TBH it was the best pulled pork I've ever had! It got extra flavor from sitting in the broth with mushrooms and other veggies and it was so yummy. I even ate it on a bagel because we accidentally only got one bun. 
Thursday: We did a repeat meal of Som Tom and Nam Tok because we happened to visit the asian store and picked up a green papaya. If you want explanation on this meal, go to this post.

Above is a grocery list for each recipe! Yum yum! 
 photo riley-sig_zps51d1cb9c.jpg

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

New Years Eve 2016

Ah man guys, I just hate New Years Eve. I always have. I think I've had one good New Years in my life and it was last year. This year was good not great. We decided to go to the Jazz game with a bunch of friends. Every time we go to the Jazz game we get flash seats so that we just have the tickets on our phones, but this time we got them from Stub Hub and we had to print them out. A fact we didn't realize until we were driving to the game. We went to my parents and tried to print them out, but the printer wasn't working and it was so stressful! Haha! You should have seen my Dad just rip the printer out of the wall. It was really funny later on but not in the moment. I ended up having to run to my neighbors house to print them off (thanks Kathy!) but yeah, it just got off to a stressful start. The game itself was great! We won!
After the game we planned on going to Sugarhouse BBQ but it was closed! Bleh! We found another place to go and it was pretty good. 
After we went back to a friends house and played some games. We were all so involved in Settlers of Catan that we didn't even acknowledge midnight, which was kind of a huge bummer, but oh well!

I didn't get any pictures of actual people which again, bummer. At least I got some pictures to document! 
Hopefully our 2017 year will go better than the first night!
 photo riley-sig_zps51d1cb9c.jpg

Monday, January 2, 2017

begging, borrowing, stealing.

Happy New Year!
Today I slept in and then put in a full day of working. Lesson planning, grading, tying up the loose ends I promised I would do over the holiday. I was having a hard time getting in the headspace of it all this morning, being majorly whiny and depressed and then Mark realized he hadn't fed me. YOU MUST FEED ME! Moments after I wake up, someone needs to give me a bagel or something. Anyway, after Chick Fil A I was ready to go and I went into major crunch time. I was done just in time to watch the sun go down on my Christmas break. I am excited to go back and get in my routine again! I have gained so much weight over this break and I feel like a blob all the time so I need to get back into normal life.

This weekend I worked for hours and hours on the education blog I told you guys about. I hired my amazing graphic designer, rodchenko, from Fiverr again (he did my blog business cards) and I highly recommend him. He only charged me $15 for a ton of work! He also is amazing at reading my mind. I told him I wanted a minimalistic but cute blog header and HE DID PROVIDE! Check him out HERE.

I also learned way more about HTML than I think I ever want to know. I definitely could not have done it without my friends Emily and Nate. 

All that to say, my education blog is live! It's called Begging, Borrowing and Stealing. Here is my little blurb:

When I was attending school for my teaching degree, my professors kept repeating over and over, "great teachers beg, borrow and steal." I didn't realize how true this would be until I started teaching myself. 

The teacher I am today is a combination of every teacher I have ever worked with, every educator who has shared resources online, every mentor I've ever had. I hope to pass along that knowledge and share some resources with you that will get your students out of their seats and closing their notebooks.

I specialize in 8th grade U.S History, English, and Gifted Education. Not only do I teach regular U.S History and Honors English, but I teach a gifted class that combines U.S History and English. 
Though my lessons have an emphasis for gifted students, I believe that all of my lessons can be differentiated for different groups and grade levels.

Lastly, I'm not an expert on anything. I'm not a super experienced teacher, I learn things every single day. I make a million mistakes and have to re-adjust. I have lessons that go horribly and I have students whom I cannot get under control. I hope to create a community that supports and inspires each other in a increasingly difficult profession. This blog has been many hours in the making and a lot of love goes into each lesson. Let's make the classroom a fun place to be. I hope that you enjoy!

If you are a teacher or know a teacher, I would love for you to follow along! Thanks for all the support, bbs! 
If you haven't, please take my survey about this blog
Have a great week!
 photo riley-sig_zps51d1cb9c.jpg