What can a teacher actually do? OMG….what have I done?

It has been quite difficult for me to think of a new topic to write about.  I would like to call it writer’s block, but I am not a writer.  Of course, there is my recent unemployment issue that seems to be persisting like a bad pimple.  I have been a music/drama teacher for the last 16 years, and this is the first year that the school year began without me.  It feels rather odd not to be in school with everyone else.  Honestly, I have yet to figure out if I like the feeling or not.  I have very mixed emotions at the moment, and perhaps I will not come to a conclusion until the first vacation break I would normally have as a teacher.

So here I am, at the mercy of the job market with what seems like very limited skills or education.  I am 4 classes shy of having a Master’s degree, and a common response I have received from many of these job applications is either: You are not qualified enough, or you are over-qualified.  Since when does being ‘over-qualified’ stop a company from hiring someone?  That would be equivalent to a high school principal telling Albert Einstein he is over-qualified to teach high school students.  So, I suppose my true question is, “What can a teacher actually do?”

I have never thought of that question before, aside from contemplating a response to the popular comment, “Oh, you just teach music/drama.”  How does a person properly respond to that?

I think back to the many hours spent practicing choral music BEFORE having to teach the music to my classes.  I think back to the many hours of script writing for our many productions throughout the year BEFORE we even began rehearsals.  Prepare ye self for a plethora of memes that are about to bombard this post.  Sometimes the life of a music/drama teacher is best described in the many memes we like to post all over our classrooms.  So, what can a music/drama teacher actually do?

15a6c70a425a0e249dab09580ae7c238

Growing up with one of the best critics in the world, my mom taught me that every performance should be better than the last.  For some reason, I developed that same mentality with my choir ensembles and drama troupes.  I pushed my students every day so they realized that they shouldn’t be satisfied with just “ok”.  It is great for students to know that they must always do their best, but as a teacher of the performing arts, sometimes a student’s BEST can be pushed even further because they don’t always know that their BEST can become BETTER.  Being that pushy teacher means that they will hate you during the rehearsal process, but in the end they realize that you knew their true potential.  So, a music/drama teacher goes through all of the name-calling, the gossip, the bad attitudes,  etc., but in the end, they end up becoming the student’s best friend.  Well, I won’t go as far as assuming I’m their best friend, but at least they realized I pushed them so hard for a very good reason.  My criticism wasn’t to be mean, but I firmly believe that compliments are earned.  Today, students are awarded just for being present.  My students knew that when I gave them a compliment, it was because I truly meant it and because they truly earned it.  I never believed in giving them only positive feed back because that is not how the real world works.  Why sugar coat everything?  Why not be honest about your thoughts and expectations?

11ec924e4ae40f6a6d19081c0a07ea1a

However, kids will be kids, and 9 times out of 10 they would come to rehearsal completely unprepared.  The countless hours spent on preparing rehearsal tracks for their performance/competition music turned out to be time wasted on many occasions.  I can’t count how many times I spent my very own free time recording their music, only to be disappointed that they came to class without knowing their voice parts.  Nonetheless, a performing arts teacher works with what she/he has and rehearses harder than ever to make up for what wasn’t practiced at home.  It is not as simple as giving a student a 0 for their homework grade because that will never help for the competition that is coming up in 4 weeks.  Sure, individual tests and homework grades have a direct affect on their personal averages, but our performances and competitions were always for public display and a direct reflection on myself as a director.  Thankfully, my students learned very quickly that their performances were more successful when they practiced at home, and we polished and perfected the ensemble during class time.  Of course, with limited ensemble rehearsal time, that usually meant that we were required to have additional rehearsals after school.  Let’s face it, high school students love to talk no matter how great a teacher’s classroom management may be.  d9e780ef1e60d9544bbd3942c059ba2e

Aside from my choral duties, being a drama director meant that there were always more rehearsals scheduled other than class time and after school.  I know that everyone looks at teaching like many other careers–you chose that career, so you shouldn’t complain about your decision.  I completely agree, but unlike many other careers, a teacher does not get paid for the extra hours invested.  Sure, teachers have 3 months of vacation time, but most teachers work during that vacation time planning for the new year.  This was the first summer I did not spend my entire summer planning and practicing music programs for the upcoming year.  I realize that music is not an English class, but there still is a tremendous amount of preparation time spent on selecting concert music, festival music, competition music, practicing all of the music selected, play writing, setting up budget expectations for the year, etc.  Then there is the fundraising aspect of the job for a performing arts director.  Most clubs have fundraisers for different little things they do throughout the school year, but we had to have fundraisers because we didn’t receive a yearly club stipend and still were expected to put on performances.  Fundraisers were the only way we were able to purchase music, props, set designs, pay festival fees, pay competition fees, assist with travel to festivals and competitions,  etc.  We did not have a booster club like the athletic department or the band, so we had to do everything ourselves.   This required more advertising on my part, and a way of implementing sponsorships from local businesses.  2f1a91259f036193d8f7b053622c5386

Upon deciding to be a performing arts teacher, I never realized that I would have to be skilled at management outside the classroom along with being very financially savvy.  Creativity was always a strong suit, but I thought that creativity pertained to the performing arts programs.  I never dreamed I would have to be creative in the business aspect of it all.  After all, I am an educator, not a business manager, right?

f053761701c2fded7254ea8d64c9cc74

(Please excuse the grammatical error in this meme.)

That brings me back to that commonly heard phrase, “Oh, you just teach music/drama.”  Seriously?  When someone decides to become a teacher of the performing arts, he/she must realize that it is so much more than just teaching the art.  Unfortunately, very few know the work put into every single performance because they are not at every scheduled rehearsal, they are not there for every phone call made, they are not there for every scheduling session, they are not there for every fundraising activity, they are not there for the constant brainstorming sessions, they are not there for the phone calls from parents wondering why their child didn’t get the lead in the play, they are not there for the student breakdowns when a student is just wanting to give up instead of working even harder, they are not there for all of the drama that takes place off stage, they are not there for the numerous counseling sessions required to get students to work together instead of tearing each other apart, and they are not there for the countless evenings and vacation days spent at school preparing for everything coming up.  The only thing they see is the final performance, and they automatically assume the end result just ‘happened’.  So, I can see why it seems like I only teach music/drama because the end result looks like so much fun and just so easy.  Would you like to try it?

Wait, there’s more!  The school district in which I was a choir/drama director did not consist of only teaching at one school.  At one time, I taught 5 classes at the high school and then 1 choir class at two different middle schools.  That meant that there were no daily lunch or planning times.  Most of my plan time had to take place after school, and my lunches had to be consumed in my vehicle while driving to the next destination.

f747a236be2f411b4f7ce7a874db79966418253c82c8b6ba7c8d32402bdcebaf

Most choir/drama teachers with a tremendous load of classes would have an assistant, but that was never in the budget for my location.  As expected, upon returning back to the high school at the end of the school day, I would have a small window of time to make copies before our after school rehearsals began.  Needless to say, Bob Marley and I became best friends because we always met after school for a little ‘jammin’ session.  Not only did I have to plan for my choir classes, but I had to prepare for my Fine Arts classes.  Seeing Bob every afternoon did not make any of this easy.  Perhaps that’s why it seemed like he was singing my favorite song everyday.

bob-marley-quote-dont-worry-about-a-thing-every-little-thing-is-gonna-be

Let me clarify, I am not writing about this because I am complaining.  Honestly, I loved my job as a high school choir/drama director, and I truly miss this position.  Sadly, I think that my biggest regret was leaving it for an elementary music/fine arts position.  I think back to those countless Fine Arts classes while teaching at the high school, and I would give anything to go back to that.  Throughout the years, I complained a lot about teaching high school Fine Arts because the majority of the class consisted of students who did not want to be there but needed an art.  I would give them various writing assignments, and I would dread grading these assignments because they were so horrific to read.

0845f8b56ed8b58d88abf94a07002343

I often wondered what they learned in their English classes because some of these papers were extremely difficult to understand.  Of course, I am not an English teacher, and I am the last person to criticize what and how they teach.  I know that they have an extremely difficult job, and I would never assume that my job is more difficult.  Unfortunately, I’ve learned that there is a tremendous amount of competition amongst faculty members.  Even though everyone is working towards a common goal–educating students, too many teachers compete with each other about who is the better teacher.  Sometimes they compete with each other about who is teaching a more substantial subject area.  I believe this is exactly why the arts suffer the most because it doesn’t receive the credit it truly deserves.  If only every teacher looked at every subject as substantial as the other, we could accomplish some pretty amazing things.

Anyway, this last year, I found myself missing not only my choir and drama groups but also my high school Fine Arts classes, regardless of their lack of writing skills.  Instead, I faced general music classes filled with kindergarten through third grade students, squeaky recorder classes, and Fine Arts/Drama/Music classes (with out a set curriculum or IDEA of a curriculum) filled with fifth through seventh grade students (the majority wishing they were in P.E. everyday).  It never failed, whenever a holiday was approaching, these students would come to class, and I wished they were in P.E., too.

3875241

You know the saying, “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side”?  Well, as much as I loved my kindergarten through third grade classes, I couldn’t help but feel that I didn’t belong.  I missed my busy schedules, the drama both on and off stage, and all of the business aspects of my job.  I didn’t leave this last job because I thought the grass was greener somewhere else.  I left this last job because we decided to move away from our little bayou community and try life elsewhere.  Do I miss this last job I held?  Unfortunately, my last year of teaching almost seems like it was a wasted year for me.  I feel as if the lack of the busy schedule and the endless rehearsals made me seem rather lazy.  Of course, elementary/middle school is very different from high school.  I miss everything about my job as a high school music/drama director.  So, I can’t help but wonder–OMG, what have I done?  Luckily this last year wasn’t a COMPLETE waste.  I took  that curriculum-lacking, nonexistent, Fine Arts/Drama program and caused them to want to continue it the next year instead of trashing it.  I was able to put on 2 play productions that required students to actually ACT and do much more than read lines from a piece of paper .

Being a high school music/drama director has enabled me to learn so much more than education alone.  However, in the current job market, it seems as if being a high school music/drama teacher doesn’t mean anything at all.  Employment positions that require something as simple as a high school diploma and a few years of experience in a certain field leaves me with being an applicant who is not experienced enough.  I know I could work circles around many people they may possibly hire, but because I do not have experience in the field they consider me not qualified.  Really?!

16shyd

It is frightening to know that many people that are hired in different positions have less work ethic and drive than someone who doesn’t have “experience” in the field.  As a teacher, we learn new things every day, every month, every year.  Please give me a solid explanation as to why a teacher–in this case, a high school music/drama teacher– does not have required experience in management, budgeting, scheduling, marketing & advertising, sales, recruiting, publishing, customer service, etc.  A teacher can be taught rather quickly because we are constantly battling the ever-changing education field and all of the new paperwork that comes along with it.  Why do employers think a teacher is not qualified?  Besides, how did they get into the position they are in to begin with?  Don’t you think they all have to thank a teacher for TEACHING them?  Perhaps there is more to this ‘not qualified’ excuse.  Maybe, they are afraid of teachers because teachers CAN do ANYTHING, and just maybe THEIR skills are limited to that particular field because they are NOT a teacher.  All I can say is, just give a teacher a chance because teachers are some of the hardest working people you will ever meet.  Try to realize that teachers are more qualified than you can possibly imagine.  Of course, if you never give a teacher a chance, you will never find out the true value they can bring to a company.

handel

Needless to say, my job search continues.  For now, I am unemployed for the first time in a VERY long time.  Please keep your fingers crossed because this Disney addict needs revenue coming in so she can support her need for Disney all the time.  Haha!

64b86f4717600c34809b9a077f3d784a

 

Change…..I am ready!!!!!

Again, it has been very difficult to keep up a blog.  You see, the intentions were good, but then life happens.  Sure, that’s always a great excuse, right?  I’m not so sure these days.  Actually, it is proof that I have commitment issues when it comes to things like this.  Today is August 1st of 2017, and my goal is to ‘recommit’ myself to the intentions I had in the beginning.  I am proud to say that one of my New Year Resolutions has been kept up, and that is keeping my planner up to date both in decorating and activities.  I admit that there may be 2 or 3 random weeks that are completely blank, but that was only because of dire emergencies taking place in life at that particular time.

So much has happened over this last year.  My lovebug and I decided to finally move away from the bayou area and take a stab at city life together.  Honestly, I have missed city life for quite a while.  While not many may call Shreveport a major city, it was definitely a major city for THIS bayou girl, and I missed that city life terribly.  So, needless to say, we decided to move.  The problem with moving when you are a teacher is that if you don’t fill out applications to school districts at the right time, you miss out on all of the job fairs.  I have never been the type of person to not have a plan, but for the first time in my life….I have no plan.  Let me clarify that.  I have a plan…that plan is to get a job.  However, when I refer to not having a plan, I am referring to the fact that this plan does not involve teaching because unfortunately there aren’t any jobs available for this music and drama teacher.  Ya’ll, this will be the first year during my entire teaching career that I am without a teaching position.  I can’t even begin to describe how scary that is for me.  So, I am completely at the mercy of the job market. Eeeek!

Nonetheless, we are completely happy in our new place.  I must secretly admit that I believe part of my happiness comes from the fact that our new place somewhat resembles one of Disney’s major resorts.  Yes, every time I return home, I feel as though I am coming back to Disney’s Beach Club Resort.  So aside from the happiness I am filled with because I get to see my lovebug every afternoon/evening, I am filled with even more happiness because I am returning home to my “pretend” Disney Beach Club Resort.  Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

Okay, so perhaps I am reaching for this similarity, but when you love Disney as much as I do….it’s not reaching.

Before moving, I embarked on this crazy journey to make our apartment a place where we could feel like we were in the “happiest place on earth” everyday.  I know if I could be in Disney World every day of my life, I would be completely ecstatic.  However, the adult in me knows that is not possible at the moment.  It totally stinks to be an adult when you have to face such realities.  Perhaps that is why I would be best living in Disney World because I can actually escape the realities of adult life.  One can dream, can’t they?  To be honest, I believe that my dream job would be to plan Disney vacations every day and all day.  I am not nearly as experienced as the Disney vacationer who frequented Disney since a small child, but I almost feel like I am worse because I research Disney all the time.  Ya’ll, I am happy to admit….I am a DISNEY ADDICT.  Haha!

So back to this adventure I embarked on.  As you may have figured out from some of my previous entries, I love teapots and Alice in Wonderland.  Well, I worked on surrounding myself with Alice in Wonderland goodies.  I managed to decorate my kitchen and dining room with an Alice in Wonderland theme.  It is still a work in progress, but I am satisfied with the way it has turned out so far.  Of course, it is impossible to have a kitchen without “Little Chef”, Remy, making an appearance.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The majority of my dining room setting is homemade.  My very own mother made my table cloths and napkins.  I designed it to resemble Alice’s dress.  Every crochet doily was made by my late grandmother, “maw maw”, who had an unbelievable amount of talent.  Like mother-like daughter…my mom is also unbelievably talented.  I think it is quite visible that I love ruffles, and my mom is definitely the Ruffle Queen! Even my dish towels had to have ruffles.  Luckily my mom was able to make those too.  The rag swag in the dining room was made my “yours truly”.  I used all of the scraps my mom had from all of the baby clothes/dresses she made.  Thankfully, I am not the only one that loves pastels in my family. The cuckoo clock was purchased from Bradford Exchange, and the curious oysters were purchased from Fairlovely11 on Etsy.  Many of the items displayed at the top of my cabinets came from Zulily.  Zulily is completely amazing because there are always interesting items to purchase at great prices.  You might want to sign up for Zulily updates….I highly recommend it.

Let’s not kid ourselves to think that Disney is only in my kitchen and dining room.  So, let’s move on to my very own work space.

IMG_2438

Naturally, the Disney plushes all come from either the Disney Store or Disney Parks.  The Disney ears also come from Disney Parks.  I found the Disney Princess artwork at Hobby Lobby, and the cute Mickey planter was purchased at our local Dollar General.  It is a small space, but it really works for me.  The bonus about my work space is that it looks out towards an amazing view.  IMG_0698FullSizeRender 68 Which takes us out onto our quaint little patio.  The patio is in the process of being themed after Disney’s The Enchanted Tiki Room.  This is a new project I started yesterday, but it will take a while before it is completed like I want it to be.  For now, this works out just fine, and it’s a great place to drink coffee and do some “grateful” journaling.  Oh yeah, that amazing leather journal was a happy find from the Louisiana Renaissance Festival in Hammond, LA.  If you have never been, you DEFINITELY need to check it out.  They open their doors to the kingdom in November, and every weekend is a different theme.  Ya’ll, it is so much fun!

Upon moving, we downsized quite a bit.  I was afraid at first, but it actually worked out better than expected.  Sure, I have a storage unit for all of my Christmas decorations, but believe it or not everything else actually fits in our smaller apartment.  I don’t think we are quite ready for the ‘tiny house’ movement, but maybe one day.  I thank God everyday for blessing me with great organizational skills.  It wasn’t until I moved everything out of our spare closet in our previous apartment that I realized just how great those organizational skills were.  I could not believe all of the STUFF that was neatly placed in that closet.  So, we decided upon a 1 bedroom apartment because honestly, why do we need 2?  Out of all the Disney love stories, my favorite will always be Mickey and Minnie because that is where it all started.  When it came to decorating our bedroom, I decided that Mickey and Minnie would be the perfect theme.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The bedroom is not even close to being finished.  I am still awaiting some artwork for other parts of our bedroom, but at least it gives me a project to work on.  I think it is quite obvious that I love the color yellow.  The bedspread and flower pillows were crocheted by my talented maw maw.  It’s been in our family for as long as I can remember.  I found the cute Mickey and Minnie picture at Target.  The green topiaries were also purchased at Target.  Eventually, the random Disney plushes will have their own place, but for now they add even more cheer to our bedroom.  They were purchased at the Disney Parks, except for the Despicable Me plushes that came from Universal Studios Orlando.  The ‘read with me’ Tigger and Pooh came from the Hallmark Store during a ‘going out of business’ sale.  The colorful, quote artwork was purchased from RainyDayDownloads on Etsy.  Once our bedroom is complete, I will post updated pictures.

Next room of the tour is the bathroom.  I know, why on earth would you want to see a bathroom?  I am sorry, but I am very proud of our bathroom because it has homemade goodies.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I am proud to say that I have a ‘one of a kind’ shower curtain.  You will not find the shower curtain nor the toilet paper holder in stores.  Knowing that I love ruffles, my mom made both of these with tons of ruffles.  The shower curtain display is not quite finished, but this is definitely a good start.  I can’t have a room in our apartment without some sort of Disney memorabilia, so I found this cute artwork on Etsy created by BearandLouDesigns.  The wonderful thing about artists like BearandLouDesigns is that it’s immediate, printable downloads….no waiting. That works out perfectly for impatient people like me. Haha!

Lastly, in our little apartment, is our living room/entertainment area, and my lovebug’s workspace/shared computer space.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Again, I found some prints on Etsy from CreativeArtistore, OohPrint, and CreationTreasure. Disney plushes are from the Disney Parks.  The Frozen figurines were a sale item from Tuesday Morning, and that amazing Maestro Mickey print was a gift to music directors while on one of our choir trips to Festival Disney.  If you are a music teacher and have never taken your groups to Festival Disney, I strongly suggest that you do ASAP.  The experience is completely priceless for all involved, and it is an amazing musical experience for both students and teachers.  The Alice in Wonderland clock was a purchase from Books-a-Million, and I believe it is obvious that the budget board was a creation of my own.  It may not be the most creative thing ever, but it works for us.

So there you have it…..a small tour of this Disney Addict’s apartment.  Because my mom is not a city person, she was afraid she would never see our apartment, in person, after we had completely unpacked.  She begged for me to make a video for her, so I did.  I’m sharing that video here just in case you’d like to view it.  Please keep in mind, this was for my mom.  😉

Mom’s Apartment Walk-Through

I know this was lengthy, and perhaps that is why it is difficult for me to commit to blogging.  Thanks for reading! Anywho!  Tune in to tomorrow’s blog for the introduction of our newest family member.  Have a fantastic day, everyone.

Loss…

20161218_141506_resizedIt is so easy to give up on New Year’s Resolutions sometimes.  Here we are, it is only January 11th, and I’ve gone days without writing in my ‘thankful journal’, and I’ve gone days without reading through my daily devotional.  Suffering from a loss can be a solid reason as to why I’ve ditched my New Year’s Resolutions.

Saturday, my boyfriend and I had to put our beloved dog down.  We never know the impact our pets have on our lives until they are no longer with us.  We only had Reggie for a little more than a year, but it seems as if we can’t even begin to remember what life was like before him.  He was so full of joy and energy, and he always knew when we were feeling down in the dumps because it seemed as if that’s when he was trying to be the silliest and the most lovable.

It is amazing how smart a dog can be.  When my love-bug broke his wrist, Reggie wanted nothing more than to hug him because he knew his human dad was hurt.  When Reggie was suffering so badly, we wanted nothing more than to take the pain away.  We felt completely helpless.  It still hurts a lot because no one should have to decide to put down a family member.  I can’t help but wonder if we made the best decision, but it is something we will never know.  When a vet doesn’t find the problem, but the sweet fur-baby is in so much pain….you do what you feel is best for the dog.  Yeah, if we had a bountiful, money tree and could afford exploratory surgeries, pain medication, etc., it would have made sense to give it a try.  However, we are struggling to make ends meet as it is.

So, needless to say, since Saturday, it has been quite difficult for us.  We both ended up sick on Monday, and I know the loss of our beloved dog had a lot to do with it and made us vulnerable to anything that was going around.  As the days go by, we are being able to cope more and more, but we miss him tremendously.  I returned to school yesterday, and almost broke down when a student came up to me, hugged me, gave me a card, and told me that she was sorry for my loss.

20170111_052727_resized

The thoughtfulness behind this card was overwhelming.  As with any teaching profession, there are lots of students out there that despise their teachers, but it is so rewarding when you know the ones that truly love and care for you.  That alone made me cry.

So, now we move on with life filled with memories of our sweet Reggie.  I’ve slacked on some of my New Year’s Resolutions since Saturday because I felt I didn’t have anything to be thankful for.  So, how could I journal about being thankful everyday?  I also felt as if God had turned on us by taking away our beloved Reggie, and it caused me not to want to read any daily devotionals.  Let’s face it, I was angry with God for a few days.  However, I know that Reggie’s death wasn’t God’s way of punishing us.  So, I am doing my best to get back on the Resolution Horse, and get myself into gear.  I know Reggie is now pain free and in doggie heaven licking every single dog and person he encounters.  One thing we can learn from Reggie is that there is absolutely no reason to dislike anyone.  It doesn’t matter if they are a stranger, family, or friend…..live life with a heart full of love.   We miss you, Reggie.  You will never be forgotten.  We were blessed to have a year full of wonderful memories with such a loving fur-ball.  We love you.   img_2017-01-05_08-31-41

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

 

112_wine_dine-911996-twobyoneMy plan was that my next blog would be about my New Year’s Resolutions, and how they affect me as an entrepreneur.  While I do intend to blog a little about that at some point, I am impacted by how difficult it is to give up certain things we love….mostly because it is a comfort rather than an addiction. Not being able to give up comfortable things hinders our ability to stick to our New Year’s Resolutions.  There are 3 things that have always been my weaknesses: Coca-Cola, ice cream, and coffee.

 

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love coffee!!!!!  Although, I can’t help but laugh at the images above because that is how most people feel about coffee, or caffeine rather.  However, my love for coffee is simply because I love the way it tastes.  I have never been the type of person who needs coffee to wake up or stay awake, but I do know that some people are definitely like that.  Coffee is just so much fun because there are so many different flavors suitable for various personalities.  Besides, coffee helps your body function properly….if you know what I mean.

mug_ad

Who doesn’t want a mug like this? If anyone knows where I can get this mug….please leave a comment below.  Thanks!  So, needless to say, out of the three things that I consider my weakness, coffee is the hardest to let go.

In many ways, Coca-Cola became a love of mine like coffee has been.  However, at one time I switched to diet drinks because everyone talked about how many calories a regular Coke contained.  So, for a while, all I had been drinking were diet drinks.  Then a very good friend of mine enlightened me on how bad diet drinks actually were, so I quit diet drinks altogether.  Unfortunately, it was difficult for me to kick the Coke habit because it was such a comfort drink.  During those hot Louisiana afternoons, it was habit that I would stop at a convenience store on my way home from school and pick up a cold Coca-Cola to drink during the ride home.  I thought I was doing better because I wasn’t drinking diet drinks anymore.  My motto was, “If you are going to drink a Coke–it might as well be a real one.”  My Coke intake started increasing because let’s face it, something sweet tasting is so much more interesting than plain ole’ water.  So, I lived with my Coke habit, but I was suffering tremendously from it.

large

It had become a bigger addiction than my love for coffee.  You see, if I don’t get to drink coffee some days, it is no big deal.  I don’t feel like I’ve missed my daily vitamins, or anything like that.  On the other hand, if I didn’t drink a Coke one day…..I felt the bad headaches come rushing towards me, like the herd Scar sent running towards Simba in order to kill him.  It’s completely insane how one thing can affect us so much.

2153507

Sometimes it is easy to give up certain habits, but at other times it is as if it takes an act of Congress just to decrease them.  Ice cream was definitely one of those things that Congress had to step in to help me kick the habit.  I grew up in a family that ice cream was part of our nightly ritual.  My grandmother loved ice cream so much, that even during the coldest of winters, you’d find her sitting next to the space heater eating her ice cream.  Unlike Coca-Cola, ice cream was definitely a comfort food, and it seemed every night I needed comforting.  By all means, I had to have my ice cream!

So, how does one stick to New Year’s Resolutions when things such as these are comforts and addictions in daily life?  I had no idea how I would kick these habits.

I was in desperate need of a change in my life.  I had never been one to include exercise in my weekly routines because I was blessed with good genes, so I never had to really work out to stay slim.  Then I turned 40!  My 40th year wasn’t so bad because I was still able to eat what I regularly ate without it affected me too much.  Towards the end of the 40th year, I was beginning to notice that my body was changing.  I’d eat what I normally ate, but for some reason I started gaining weight.  I tried decreasing my portions, but that didn’t seem to make much of a difference either.  I was still drinking Cokes, coffee, and eating ice cream pretty regularly, but I wasn’t willing to give it up because I loved them.

Thankfully, I came across a company called It Works, and I found out that they promoted health and wellness products.  I was always apprehensive of many health products I came across over the years, but after researching this company, I was intrigued by the naturalness of it all.  My first priority was to find a way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in my diet, but fresh produce is not always the cheapest thing to buy every day.  It Works had a fruit and vegetable blend called Greens, and I found out that it would give me my 8 daily servings of fruits and vegetables.  That was right up my alley.  So, I started taking my It Works Greens daily, and felt that I was on the right track.  I was beginning to feel better and had more energy, but I still had to do something about the rapid weight gaining problem.

I recently started on what It Works calls, Triple Threat.  Triple Threat includes the Greens, Thermofit (helps to increase metabolism), and FatFighters (helps to decrease the amount of fat and carbs in your meals).  At first I wasn’t noticing a difference in my weight, but I have recently made some changes that is a positive result of Triple Threat.  I gave up Coca-Cola.  I eat ice cream on very rare occasions, and my coffee intake has decreased to a cup a day–IF I even manage a cup a day.  I don’t crave any of my three weaknesses any longer, and I am feeling great.  I am also exercising more than I ever have because I have tons of energy now.

I have tons of resolutions I want to achieve this year, and weight loss is one of the major ones.  I didn’t want a product that was going give me a rapid weight loss because we all know what happens when someone loses weight quickly.  Once a little weight begins to come back, it hits you like a eighteen wheeler.  Before you know it, you gained the lost weight back plus some.  Besides, Rome wasn’t built in a day.  A healthy lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight.

3dacc33e8ce5f70cbd191abf48647d88

Sometimes New Year’s Resolutions require baby steps.  You won’t achieve your goals by expecting them to happen overnight.  Just because your success doesn’t happen instantly, don’t give up on the bigger picture.  Track your daily journey.  It is okay if you have a setback.  You mustn’t be hard on yourself when there is a set back here and there.  The most difficult thing about health and wellness is starting.  So, once you start towards a healthier you…..push forward and keep going because then you will never have to ‘start’ again.

If you would like more information about the health and wellness products It Works offers, please feel free to visit my site.  There is truly something for everyone there.  What is even better is that if you become a loyal customer for only 3 months, you will be able to purchase products at my 40% discount instead of retail price.

In conclusion, don’t allow the challenges to become overwhelming.  Approach those resolutions step by step and keep track of what you are doing to get to the end result.  Ya’ll, we can do this.  We can achieve every goal we set because we have the tools and power to do so.  I believe in you.  Do YOU believe in you?

img_2017-01-05_08-31-41

 

Planning For 2017

20161230_065816As I sit hear drinking my coffee and eating my flatbread toast with pear butter spread (made by my very own cousin, Gypsy), I can’t help but think of how preparing for a new year never was a serious matter for me.  However, the older I get, it seems like it is becoming imperative for me to actually give some serious thought to the next year.  After all, I am not getting any younger, and the older I get the faster the years tend to pass by.  While this has nothing to do with decorating or anything vintage, I can’t help but think that it is needed to change some of my vintage ways.  So, bear with me while I blab about inventing a new me.  You can teach a vintage dog new tricks.

Wednesday morning, I woke with a large amount of fervor filling my body.  I immediately went to our wonderful Walmart, and bought a poster board with the firm intent on putting a few things on it that I would like to accomplish during the year 2017.  However, after returning home, I began to read a few articles from the selection I purchased in the magazine area of the store, “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Guided Journal–New Year, New Me”.  These articles encouraged me to brainstorm even further when putting together my dream board aka. vision board.  Honestly, I prefer calling it a vision board because I believe it is meant to be a visual reference when pursuing your goals and taking the proper actions in making those dreams become a reality.  My vision board went from simple resolutions about job success to so much more.  There are so many things about myself that I realized I wanted to work on during this new year.  Sure, there is always that goal of becoming healthier, but I never really thought about the steps in making that happen.  I know that I am behind on this style of thinking, but at least it is better late than never.

The Christmas holiday has made me realize that I have slipped on developing stronger relationships with my family and friends.  I reconnected with family members that I have not talked to in years, and it made me think of how important it is to have those strong relationships.  Let’s face it, we all lead very busy lives, but with social media and today’s technology, the excuses as to why we are not closer to family and friends is merely just that, an excuse.  We get tangled into our own little world and eventually become…selfish.  I have become selfish.  It is so easy to close myself up in our apartment, after a day of teaching, and lock myself away from the world.  That is completely unhealthy, and aside from physical health, mental health is equally important, if not more so.  So, I’ve decided to really challenge myself this upcoming year, and actually hold myself accountable by documenting my actions towards achieving these goals.  Yes, it is a new year, and it is so easy to start these new routines like all other resolutions, but sometimes it isn’t always easy to keep up because we get lazy and don’t hold ourselves accountable.  Well, documentation and reflection should help with that.  Also, by posting my vision board in a place that I will see it every morning and afternoon is a constant reminder that I have goals that need achieving.

20161228_150619

My vision board turned into a challenge to be a better me in all areas of my life.  I am completely excited about these new challenges, and I look forward to documenting my journey throughout the year.  I am a  planner addict, and naturally I have found ways to incorporate my addiction into this journey towards improvement.

I have planners and journals for everything.  These are just a few.  I used to be the type of planner to include everything into one planner, but those days are over.  I will update everyone on my planner collection for 2017, as well as the uses for each one, very soon.  After much thought, I have finally found a way to keep my personal life, business life, school life, and social media life in order.

Enjoy the rest of 2016 while you can, and stay tuned for how I plan to document my way towards achieving my 2017  goals…..