25 Days of Christmas – Daily Blogs

I had an idea over this past week’s Thanksgiving break: blogging 25 days straight until Christmas. In the YouTube world, people do something called Vlogmas in which they vlog (record their daily activities via video) every day until Christmas. With my job and overall life goings-on, vlogging daily [with editing time to consider] is not feasible. But blogging daily, now that’s something I can do.

Err, well, at least try to do.

I figured there was something out there in the interwebz that incorporated blogging daily and this time of year and I was right! Naturally. You can find anything online these days.

There isn’t all that much to choose from, so here is the one I chose:
25 Days of Blogging Christmas challenge

Notice that this is an old challenge (#2 and 23 mention Christmas 2012), but whatever. Also, I’m not 100% loving all of the prompts, but I can always switch it up and, if a better idea comes along, I’ll do what I want. Freedom: it’s a beautiful thing!

Join me in writing every day (hopefully!!) until Christmas, even if it’s just in a journal for your eyes only! I forget how much writing calms and relaxes me, which is why I haven’t written on this blog in awhile! Writing has always been a way that I’ve worked through difficult thoughts and emotions (see my post about my long-time journaling); it allows me to get those thoughts out and [somewhat] make sense of what’s going on in my head.

Granted, this is not a crazy difficult or emotional challenge, requiring me to delve deep and work through tough thoughts and feelings. However, I do have a feeling a couple of the prompts are going to bring up some emotions as they deal with sentimental topics that I’ve already had emotional times about.

So, anyways, get your pens/keyboards ready for the next 25 days of writing!

My Invisalign Journey (14): Officially done.

Alas, here we are. At the end of the journey. It’s been a little over 2 years since I first looked into Invisalign, and a little less than 2 years since I received my first set of aligners.

I’m happy to report I would do it all over again and recommend it to anyone looking into straightening their teeth. I’m happy with the results, it wasn’t super hard to keep up with wearing them and brushing after meals, and the discomfort of new aligners every 10-20 days was manageable.

Buuuut I’m seriously glad it’s over.

I’m hoping to get my official after photos soon – I’ve emailed Dee but haven’t gotten a response, so I need to try again. For now, here’s an idea of the difference. [Left: Dec. 2011; Right: Oct. 2015]

beforeafter

It’s been a little over 6 months since my last appointment, and I’ve had the same 2 duplicate sets of aligners since then to wear full-time. I admit, I was a little more lax about these last 6 months than the rest of the time, but I still wore them pretty much all the time. I didn’t take a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss with me wherever I went like the previous 18 months, but I still wore them every night and brushed in between [most] meals when I could.

I recently bit the bullet to get a crown put on that tooth with the filling because it was starting to bother me again. Not, like, aesthetically because who sees that deep into my mouth? No, it was starting to feel a bit sensitive like when you have a cavity. Obviously not a good sign when you already have a filling.

So, about 3 weeks ago, I had the filling taken out and a temporary crown put on the tooth…and hated the entire experience. So. much. blood. And discomfort. And the sound of drills. Oh! Awful.

My dentist told me not to use my Invisalign with the temporary as it’s made of plastic and could just pop off when taking my aligners out. I didn’t want to stop wearing my aligners, especially with my upcoming final appointment, so I cut the last two teeth pockets off of the top aligner so that the affected tooth wouldn’t be bothered or compromised.

Two weeks ago, I had my FINAL appointment at Dr. Jacquie’s office in midtown. I got to see my favorite technician, Dee, whom took care of me on my first few appointments as well as a bunch throughout my time there. It was actually bittersweet. We caught up a bit on life: I told her about my JV girls volleyball team going undefeated in the regular season, she told me how much happier she is after a particularly hard time she had last year. I kind of just wanted to go out for coffee with her to extend our time together and our conversation. Is that weird? Maybe.

I showed my cut up aligners and explained the situation with my temporary crown. She said it was good that I was still wearing my aligners but that I should get a retainer within the next 2 months because teeth move in such a way to touch other teeth. So without the aligners keeping the last two top teeth (crowned tooth and molar behind it) held in place, they might actually start pulling downward to touch the bottom teeth, throwing off my bite which could lead to problems like TMJ.

Teeth are weirdly needy.

Before leaving, Dee spoke those beautiful words I’ve been waiting two years to hear:

You only have to wear the aligners at night.

HELLZZZ YEAHHHHHHH

So until I get my retainers, I don’t need to wear my aligners during the day. And once I get said retainers, it’s the same deal: only nighttime wear.

I got my permanent crown put on the following day (again, not a pleasant experience since my original tooth is practically non-existent anymore) so that’s one less thing to worry about. I will be getting the retainers towards the end of November since she said there’s a deal around Black Friday that sounded way too good to pass up. And I won’t have to deal with a crazy mob of people, so that’s cool.

It’s been a fun ride. Sure, I had pretty awkward looking teeth for awhile there. Sure, it was a pain the arse having to brush and floss after meals to put my aligners back in. Yeah, it’s expensive up front.

But.

In the end, I’ve now gained a smile I smile about. I’ve gotten a bunch of compliments on my teeth since going through this. I now am not [as] embarrassed when I have to take out my aligners before meals. My jaw hurts less because my bite has been aligned. It’s been an investment in me, my confidence, and my happiness. To me, the price, the time spent brushing and flossing, and even those awkward few months of buck teeth was and has been worth it.

We Are the Champions, my Friends!

tumblr_m300d1BsMh1qbtwyto1_500

Yesterday turned out to be the perfect ending for a lot of things.

First off, it was Friday, the end of the week. Who doesn’t love those?

It was also the end of our first quarter; it’s been a scramble for teachers and students to get last minute assignments, corrections, and make-ups in before grades closed.

It was our last school day of October. And it was the day before Halloween so we had some fun festivities during the day to celebrate.

But, above all of these, it was our last JV volleyball game of the year. And not just any volleyball game; it was the championship game for ISAL (Independent Schools Athletic League in NYC). My brain was totally fried from a full week of teaching and coaching, and I couldn’t not think about the game that would take place later in the day.

This was my first year coaching, and I’ve had such a blast. The girls are amazing and my co-coach is great. Plus, I love volleyball and played in middle and high school.

But I’d be lying if I said it didn’t cause extra stress. Every day, since we started the season at the end of August, we’ve had either practice or a game. This was really difficult in the beginning when I was using a cane and could only hobble along. Plus, any planning, grading, etc. had to be done during the school day (limited) or after volleyball (late). I’ve spent many nights staying late at school after volleyball because I tend to procrastinate at home.

When we started playing regular season games back in September, the girls did surprisingly well. None of our sports teams are particularly amazing, but we started off winning every game we played. There were multiple “friendly” matches that didn’t count towards our overall league record, but we were even winning those.

We were doing really well!

Going into our last regular season game on October 16, a league game to boot, we were undefeated. And not just undefeated in our league, but undefeated overall, including all friendly matches as well. Any game we played, we had won!

And guess what. We won that last regular season game, too.

This team of girls from an independent school for students with learning differences just went undefeated. Our upper school’s first athletic recognition banner would be a team I helped coach. And a girls‘ team, no less!

Making all the history!

We ended the season on top, number 1 of 5 teams in the league. It’s a small league; there were originally 2 or 3 other schools in the league but they couldn’t recruit enough girls to make teams. But that doesn’t matter because we showed everyone that we’re awesome and could do it. The underdog team came out of nowhere and totally rocked everyone’s socks off.

This past Wednesday was play-off day. We were set to play the #4 team. We told the girls to just play the game they knew how to play, not to be cocky or arrogant just because we had beat this team before and they were in last place. The girls played and they won. And it was awesome.

Which brings us to yesterday. Championship day. I tried my hardest not to overthink it or get too psyched in fear of psyching the girls out. Our subway ride up to 110th Street on the upper east side was not focused on the game or even volleyball; it was just the typical subway ride where the girls are chatting and laughing and making goofy faces and jokes. It was great.

Until we got to the athletic center and reality started setting in. And then our fan bus full of about 50 students and teachers came waltzing in cheering and chanting and waving green pompoms. I was so grateful that so many people traveled all the way from Brooklyn on a Friday afternoon, but I really didn’t want the girls to start freaking out and focusing more on the crowd than the game.

We reiterated to the girls to focus on the court, not on the bleachers. We told them to breathe and chill out. We told them to play the game they knew how to play.

The other team showed up late and their cheering section was dwarfed compared to ours. It was total insanity, and I loved it. But I was also freaking out. Reports from colleagues in the bleachers told me I looked calm and collected the entire time, which shocks me. I felt like the total opposite. But cool to know I may have a future in professional poker or acting or something.

Anyways.

Let the game begin…

Note: JV volleyball plays the best of 3 sets to 25 points, the winner winning by 2 points.

After some crazy amazing volleys, we lost the first set 24-26. So we weren’t blown away, but the pressure was still on us to win the next two sets.

The gym was so thunderous with cheering that it was obvious the girls had a really hard time hearing each other calling the ball’ we had a couple near collisions. It was also hard for us as coaches to communicate with them to tell them to move up or move back, to give them our usual pointers on bending their knees or positioning their bodies to face the court. I was literally screaming, not just talking loudly like our usual [quieter with a much smaller crowd] games.

It was insane. And stressful. And cool. And oh so stressful.

The second set was another close one with some intense moments, but we ended up pulling out a win with a score of 25-20.

This was it. It all came down to this third set.

Now, obviously you know what the result was based on the title. But humor me for a second and get pumped and nervous and act like you don’t know what the outcome is. Maybe sit on the edge of your seat for added emphasis and drama.

We started the first set amazingly – we were up something like 5-0 in the beginning.

But they caught up to us.

At 13 points, the halfway mark, we would switch sides, as was per usual of a third set.

We reached 13 points first, but they were right on our tail. We switched sides and continued on.

When the score was 17-15, the referees told us our girls were out of rotation; the switch from one side to the other really screwed them up, so two girls had ended up switching positions. The coach on the other team was rallying for us to lose some points because we served out of rotation; this didn’t happen, for whatever reason. Thank all that is holy.

At 24-18, I was ready to throw up. Or poop my pants. Or both. This could be it. Right here.

It was our serve.

We could do this.

Our girl served the ball, the other team went to set up three hits. But on the third hit, the ball ended up hitting the net and dropping on their side.

We won.

WE WONNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was keeping score on a sheet of paper the entire game, so that and the pen flew onto the floor as I sprung out of my seat and ran to the girls on the court. [Side note: My feet have so amazingly healed after my foot surgery almost 3 months ago. I can run now! Woot!!]

My co-coach and I created a huge group hug, all of us jumping up and down, yelling, laughing, and freaking the heck out. The crowd in the stands were going bonkers. Everyone was screaming. It was magical.

We each got medals; I plan to wear mine every day for the rest of my life…or at least until next year. There’s also a plaque and a trophy that will be displayed somewhere in the school.

And, we get two banners – one for the undefeated season and one for winning championships. Like, how amazing?!

The game was incredible and it really was between the best two teams. We both came to win. And it feels so damn good to be the best of the best.

On the fan bus back to Brooklyn, we all sang along to Queen’s “We Are the Champions,” which I’ve been waiting for since we knew we were going to play-offs. Like, how fitting for a Quaker school to sing this song after winning a volleyball championship? It only seems right!

It’s an incredible honor to have been a part of this amazing event in our school’s history. I’m so grateful to everyone who came and supported our team, not just last night but at our other games or by congratulating us at any point throughout the season. It meant the world to the girls and us coaches.

I can’t wait to see what next year’s season brings.

But for now, I’m thinking of all the time I will now have.

To get work done, to workout (finally!!!), to sleep, to relax.

To revel in our victory.

Foot Surgery: 6 weeks Post-op + Before & After comparison

It’s been a tough 6 weeks (tomorrow), but I’m happy to report that I’ve made so much progress since surgery!

After 2 weeks of basically rotating between laying in bed, sitting on the couch, and only getting up to use the bathroom, it was time to start moving more. It was painful and slow-going, but I used a cane during week 3 while Tom and I were in Montauk and then when I made The Great Return to Brooklyn. Brooklyn is great because everything is within walking distance. Until, that is, walking is such a chore. Mind you, we are less than a block away from Walgreens, and 2 blocks from our grocery store and laundromat. However, what would normally take a couple minutes to walk to the grocery store now took 10 minutes with the assistance of my old-lady-cart. That may not seem like a lot, but I would be totally exhausted and usually in pain by the time I got to the store, still needing to actually shop and then make the trek home.

I also started back-to-school-teacher-meetings and coaching volleyball that week. I didn’t need to use my cane around the school, but when going longer distances (home to subway, subway to school, and vice versa) and carrying a backpack, I definitely needed it to make sure I didn’t lose my balance. And I felt more comfortable knowing I could potentially use it as a weapon if someone decided to test the hobbling young lady.

Volleyball was hard at first and I’m still pretty limited, but I am walking faster and am able to help with everything more. No jumping or sliding for me, but it’s an improvement. Luckily I have a co-coach who can do the things I can’t, and our girls are very independent, allowing me to take a seat in the rolling chair and put my feet up.

I stopped using my cane during week 4 which was fantastic – I felt more confident and was even being told by Tom and co-workers that my walking was getting better, even just since the week before. I even started wearing my sneakers with the huge slits in them that week; they felt way more comfortable and supportive compared to the old lady sandals, so my feet weren’t crying by the time I got home in the evenings. They’re still a bit swollen by the end of the day, but nothing like they were in the first month.

I went to my doctor last week and he said he was very happy with my progress. I only mentioned that my big toes still felt a little floppy…to which he then proceeded to flick (but not super hard) my big toes, to which I had a minor freak out, and to which he commented that they were actually very sturdy. Okay, gross(!!!), but thanks. I am happy to report that, a week later, they don’t feel floppy anymore when I change my bandages!

bandages

Speaking of, he gave me different bandages that are less constricting! The original ones (lighter two bandages and the white zinc oxide bandage in bag) that created the soft cast were meant to allow my incisions to heal. Since my incisions are pretty much healed, he said I could start using these new bandages. I put them on on Tuesday evening and they feel so comfortable while still providing a little bit of stability and support. I will say, though, that the new ones smell [weirdly] like hot dogs.

I’ll make the following picture small so that if you don’t want to see the incisions you can just keep reading. If you want to see how they’ve healed, click the image to enlarge it.

feet incisions

I’ve been walking more with school starting and have noticed a huge difference in the way that I’m walking. As the weeks have progressed, I am better able to *kind of* roll my feet to my toes as I take steps instead of just planting my feet straight down and then picking them straight up. I’ve regained a ton of feeling in my big toes which is great; I hate the feeling of numbness with pins-and-needles when you touch the skin.

I can’t wait until I can actually do physical activity like running and jumping. You don’t realize just how much you put weight on your toes until you can’t; so much of life activities require this! I used the stability bike at school last week and did a couple miles on it – I’m so out of shape since my surgery, it’s not even funny. Like, seriously, it’s disheartening and frustrating. But at least I have a good reason, I guess.

So let’s get a comparison of my feet pre-surgery and 6 weeks post-op!

feet compare

Woot! My doctor also said that he doesn’t need to see me in the near future. I’m not 100% sure how long that means I should wait to make another appointment, but he gave me enough bandages to hold me over until I won’t need them anymore. Maybe in a month or two I’ll check in!

Overall, I’m really happy so far – I still have a ways to go until I’m healed completely, but I’m glad I did this when I did instead of putting it off and letting it get worse.

How to become a great teacher!

I remember when I decided to become a teacher and I was so nervous that I was going to mess up or screw up my future if I didn’t do everything perfectly. I wanted to share my top 13 tips to becoming a great teacher since I’ll be starting my second year soon and feel like I have it all down and can share my wisdom. I wish I had a list like this going in to guide me, so I hope this helps anyone pursuing a career in education!

  1. Go to an education school.
    • Duh! After 13 years of elementary, middle, and high school, put in the extra 4 years of undergrad, and another 1-5 years if you’re going Masters level. To be really safe, you might as well go for a Doctorate. You’re spending the rest of your life in a school setting, so why ever leave? Hopefully you’ve known since before graduating high school that this is what you wanted to do because otherwise it’s really hard to get into it.
  2. Student teach and do everything perfectly the first time.
    • You don’t want your cooperating teacher, supervisor, or students to think you’ve never done this before or that you make mistakes. That would be super embarrassing.
  3. Pass certification exams.
    • If you can’t pass these tests, what are you thinking being a teacher? Tests are the epitome of your intellectual abilities, just like they are the epitome of your future students’.
  4. Apply and interview.
    • Only after you have those pieces of paper (degree(s) and certification(s)) are you ready to apply to schools! Where do you want to end up? Do you want to teach at a public or private school? Urban, suburban, or rural? Once you fill out the applications, rock those interviews. Make sure you mention how much better and progressive your new-age philosophy is in comparison to those tenured or “veteran” folks. Also, don’t pay attention to what the school represents or how the people interviewing you make you feel. This is all about you impressing them, it’s not a two-way street.
  5. Accept the job of your dreams!
    • You’re obviously going to get hired at the perfect school on your very first shot, love everyone you work with, and love all the students you teach. You’ll most likely stay at that school for the rest of your teaching career until you retire with a healthy 401K at the age of 65.
  6. Enjoy all of the free time.
    • Teachers teach. Super easy, right? Some other minor time commitments include lesson-planning, leading clubs, coaching, covering after school study halls, lunch duty, parent-teacher conferences, department meetings, division meetings, while also keeping a very normal life and healthy relationships outside of school. Oh, and all of this results in a massively growing bank account. Don’t worry, you’ll find time to eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, and shower. It’s called summer vacation. Which reminds me…
  7. Never take a sick or personal day.
    • School cannot go on without your presence. What will the kids do without you there to teach them? No. It’s just not acceptable. You have winter break, spring break, summer vacation, and all other holidays off. Don’t be greedy.
  8. You also shouldn’t be leaving school before 8pm most nights.
    • If you are, you obviously don’t care enough and are not putting enough time into making yourself the best teacher.
  9. Set up your room perfectly and completely ready for the first day of school.
    • Martha Stewart won’t have nothing on you and your perfectly squared and hung posters, your immaculately clean and organized desk, and every desk and chair neatly arranged. No eraser or holepunch out of place, no clutter whatsoever. Make sure everything is set so that everyone knows you have your life together.
  10. Plan all of your lessons for the entire school year before school starts, if you can.
    • And make sure they’re fool-proof and perfect so you don’t ever have to go in and edit; that would be such a waste of time! Make sure every single one is dynamic and exciting because otherwise none of the students will learn a thing. They won’t even realize you’re in the room unless you teach with pizzazz.
  11. Always be happy and smile.
    • Never show any emotion other than happy because you don’t want your students to think you’re a human being. You need to be their role model and show them how to be happy all the time. That’s how you deal with absolutely everything: happiness. No crying, no complaining, no nothing. Don’t even talk about feelings or emotions.
  12. Do everything yourself.
    • Don’t ask for help or ideas or advice because you don’t want your co-workers, supervisors, and students to think you’re incapable of…anything. Troy and Gabriella and the gang sang that “we’re all in this together,” and while that might be fun and catchy, this is real life, not a Disney musical movie.
  13. Take this list and laugh at it because it’s a complete and utter bunch of ridiculous, flippant nonsense.

I’m not going to lie and say I haven’t thought about all of these at one point or another in my pursuit of teaching. I know the majority of them are totally ridiculous, like showing no emotion or the one about sick or personal days. But sometimes we as teachers feel a duty to stick it out even when we feel like we got hit by a bus. And free time? HA.

I also know that some people do try to plan their lessons way in advance and it works for them; BUT they are also aware that they will be going back in to edit those at some point to accommodate something that could be done better next time. And then there are people like me who plan pretty much a day or two in advance because that’s just how I work and I’m better at last minute ideas than trying to think of something for next week or next month.

Some of the tips are somewhat a tiny-bit helpful, like 1 and 2. Going to school to learn how to teach and gaining experience during student teaching is important, but don’t think you have to get a Masters or Doctorate and that you can’t screw up while learning how to teach. That’s what it’s there for. Heck, you might realize through those experiences that teaching isn’t for you, and that’s awesome! Plus, you might end up wanting to be a teacher after years of working in a different field, and that’s awesome too!

Obviously, most states nowadays require certain degrees and certifications in order for you to teach, but those don’t make great teachers. It’s experience in the classroom that makes great teachers. And an innate desire to teach. And there’s some innate talent that goes into it too. Point being: tests and schooling don’t solely make great teachers.

I’m hoping there was enough ridiculous sarcasm throughout all of the other steps that you realize this whole post is a silly guide to becoming the most unhappy and stressed out person on planet Earth. Teaching requires flexibility and collaboration and mental/emotional/physical strength. And a happy hour or twenty with co-workers…which could also be considered collaboration. Without those, you’re going to get burned out so quick.

I’ve learned so much from my prior long-term sub positions and first year of teaching (last year) and I am still preparing to learn for the next 30+ years in this field. If you try to do everything right the first time without preparing and being okay with making some mistakes or incurring hiccups or complete derailments, you will hate teaching. Obviously we all want to do a good job, but learning from mistakes is sometimes the best medicine for our egos. And that’s true for all walks of life and professions, not just teachers.

Let me know if you have any other ridiculous ideas that you may have actually had about the teaching life, or just some facetious teacher thoughts, and if you can relate to any or all of these!

Summer 2015 Favorites: People, Surgery, and Stuff

Although summer isn’t “officially” over, it is for us teachers, so I gotta get this in now! Another season, another set of things to appreciate…

First, let’s start with Tom and my in-laws for their love and support before, during, and after my surgeries this summer. Tom helped me get comfortable by gently arranging pillows to my liking, brought me food sometimes, hugged me when I was frustrated, and has literally been my crutch a lot since my foot surgery. My in-laws have been nothing but generous in letting me stay at their house to recover, letting me take over their couch, and making me feel welcome and comfortable throughout the whole summer. And, finally, Finster for his wonderful cuddles and endless entertainment…except when he’s napping, which is 75% of the time.

Cuddle time!!

Also, for all the people, friends and strangers alike, who have reached out and offered help and/or encouragement in any form since having my surgeries. I seriously appreciate you all.

Touching story time: on our way back to Stony Brook from Brooklyn about a week ago, Tom and I had to actually cross over the track at Huntington because our connecting train was on the other track. Usually the connection follows behind the current train, but whatever; usually, it’s not a problem. However, I was moving at a snail’s pace because I was only 2 weeks out of surgery.

We made it to the elevator to go up just as the doors were closing, so a man inside held them for us. We walked over the train via the platform and found the elevator to go down on the other side; by now, about 5 minutes have gone by, so the train is about ready to take off. When we finally got down to the ground, I was telling Tom to run to the train and hold the doors, but he refused to leave me.

Wouldn’t you know, as I’m walking up the flight of 5 steps to the platform, I saw the man from the elevator standing halfway out of the train, waving to the conductor to wait for us. I was so grateful and totally exhausted from that trek, so when Tom and I sat down, I bawled like a baby. Silently, so as not to draw attention, but nonetheless, tears were a-flowing.

I was frustrated with my lack of mobility and felt hopeless and scared about a potential future like this. Mainly, I was having flashbacks of my mom when she used a cane, and then a walker, and then a motorized scooter. I was always the one by her side and appreciated the people who helped her and me during those tough times.

And now, I was so thankful for this man that took the time to hold the train for me. He could have just gotten on, taken a seat, and not had a second thought about me. But he didn’t. I thanked him as we got on, but I wish I could thank him 100 times more. He doesn’t realize just how much that meant to me.

Gah, all the feels.

Which brings me to said surgeries. Although they’ve been burdensome, and as much as I may have cursed myself for doing them while in the recovery phase and feeling like my summer was nothing but recovery, I’m happy I went through with them and am glad I got them out of the way!

redressed feet

Now let’s go to some of my favorite products from this summer: First, my trusty Batiste dry shampoo. I’ve mentioned this in multiple blog posts and will continue to recommend it to anyone interested in minimizing the number of times they wash their hair in a week. It’s been great all summer as I let my hair go unwashed for 3-4 days while also sweating and/or being pretty much couch-ridden after surgery.

Similarly, I used Oribe dry texturizing spray while I stayed at my in-laws after my foot surgery. It smells delicious and doesn’t leave any trace of white film or powder in my darker hair. I received a sample size in my Birchbox subscription, so it’s handy for traveling. What’s not handy is the price; the teensy weensy 2.2 fl. oz. purse sized one retails for $22. Yeah, disgusting! A regular 8.5 fl. oz. costs $42.

Batiste Hint of Color Brown Dry Shampoo     VS.   Oribe dry texturizing spray

>>MATH TIME!!!! Batiste is usually around $6 or $7 for the 6.7 oz. can – at $7, that’s $1.04 per fluid ounce; Oribe costs $4.94 per fluid ounce for the full size can! You’re paying almost $4 more per fluid ounce with the full size of Oribe! But wait, it gets even grosser: the Batiste travel size is usually $3 for 1.6 oz, coming to about $1.90 per fluid ounce while the Oribe comes in at $10 per fluid ounce for the travel size! Horrendous. Awesome product, I just don’t see it being worth that much money.<<<

Speaking of, my next favorite is wearing my hair 95% au naturel during most of August. After washing my hair, I’ve been letting it air dry with just a couple spritzes of my It’s a 10 Leave In spray and it actually doesn’t look all that terrible. I love not having to use heat on it as it’s already 80° so I’m sweating a lot, I save time, and my hair feels sooooooooo much healthier! I think I’ve only used heat (in the form of a straightener to curl my hair for my birthday dinner with Tom) once in the past month. Woot! I totally recommend anyone who wants to try a no heat challenge to do it – embrace your natural hair and notice the difference that it makes when you let your hair be who it wants to be without heat. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

au naturel hair

I am loving the Lash Sensational mascara by Maybelline. I’m on my third tube and really enjoy how it makes my lashes look fluttery and separated while also lengthening and defining them. I have been using the Very Black non-waterproof one and I have had no fallout or flakes and it stays all day; it actually takes quite a bit of [gentle] elbow grease to remove it entirely at night!

Which brings me to Simple Micellar Water. I saw a couple YouTubers talk about this and I was suckered into trying it out. I think it’s great! It’s a facial “cleanser” (doesn’t foam up or anything…it’s, like, water) and makeup remover that is super gentle, doesn’t sting my eyes, and takes off makeup with a few swipes of a cotton pad! Plus, I don’t have to rinse it off like the oil-based makeup removers because it’s pretty much like using water already.

Going with the skin theme: sunscreen. I’m white. Like, ghostly white. I went to Virginia Beach in July with a group of my best girlfriends from high school and we spent a few hours lounging on the beach on our first full day there. I sprayed myself multiple times with SPF 50 as the sun was really intense, but between that and the fact that we were in and out of the water to keep cool, I got pretty darn burnt.

Which brings me to my next favorite: Aloe. Any aloe. I used an entire tube (with a little help from my friends, but mostly me) of Walgreens’ brand Aloe Vera because, well, it’s cheap. I got the one for sensitive skin so it doesn’t have any added scent or lotion or anything. Just aloe.

I’m glad I brought the tube because all of us benefitted from it at one point or another. I actually bought another tube after coming home because I ran out of the first tube. I got burned so bad, I ended up with some sun blisters…yeah, it wasn’t pretty. Even with the excessive aloe and lotion applications, peeling happened, but it wasn’t as gross or as extreme as I expected. It was bad, don’t get me wrong, but I think the aloe helped it a bit.

And even though I got sunburned, I still favorite time at beautiful beaches. Here we have Montauk at sunset – Tom and I stayed on the beach until all the stars were out because we don’t get to see them in Brooklyn.

Montauk beach

How about my smashbook? I’m happy with the progress I’ve made and hope to finish it by the end of this year! I got a lot of it done out in Montauk as we sat on the front porch of our bed and breakfast.smashbook collage

Side note: I got a different journal to house the smashbook – I went with this gorgeous one that has ring binding to allow more room for expansion as I fill it.

smashbook cover

I also loved celebrating my one year anniversary of marriage to the wonderfully handsome Thomas!!! And going to Montauk for a weekend away together!!!

At the beach

Last, but certainly not least, I’ll favorite that I’m a teacher and had the privilege to have a summer vacation. Cheesy, but whatever. I spent lots of time reading for school and spent some time prepping a bit for my classes, but I spent more time not doing work stuff. I hung out with coworkers [friends], and although work stuff always tended to creep its way into conversations, we always ended up talking about life outside of school, too. I’m excited to be going back, teaching all math, coaching volleyball, seeing old friends, and meeting new ones. And I can proudly say I love going to work every day even though it gets stressful and overwhelming a lot (second year teacher here, I’m sure all the veterans are rolling their eyes).

The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness. — Dalai Lama

One Year Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to us!!! It feels like forever ago that I was dealing with the stresses of planning a wedding and all that it entails (showers, rehearsal dinner, dress, etc). And man oh man I do not miss that stress! But marriage comes with it’s own stresses, obviously. I know this is still considered the honeymoon stage and it only gets harder (and, therefore, more wonderful?) from here, but I accepted that challenge August 16 of last year. Heck, I accepted that when he proposed!

I’ve learned a lot about Tom over the last year, and I’m sure he’s learned a lot about me too. Heck, I’ve learned a lot about me! I guess that happens when you share your life with someone else. I mean, I lived with my friend Becky in college, but we were so much alike that there were rarely issues about cleanliness, organization, sleep schedules, etc. I did learn that we are very weird people and sometimes the dumbest things entertain us. I miss you Becky!

I won’t get into gory details of what I’ve learned, because I’m sure they’re typical things that two people who come from different backgrounds encounter. And also this would quickly become the longest blog post ever. No thank you!

Anyways, as mentioned in previous blogs, we’re going to celebrate by going out to Montauk next weekend. We’re staying in the same B&B we had for our honeymoon because we really enjoyed our stay there. I can’t wait to enjoy the peace and tranquility of being so far away from the city before school starts and all the hecticness it brings. As it is, I’m coaching volleyball this fall and I have to be there the day after we come back. I also have a doctor’s appointment that morning. Okay, stress is returning.

Also as previously mentioned, I’m hoping my feet can handle some walking and some sand. Good news: I changed my own dressings! My mother-in-law offered to do it again after I showered and got them all wet on Saturday, but I decided to do it myself with her nearby in case I needed back-up. It wasn’t bad at all! I hit my right big toe (of course!) and it was weird but I was fine. See? It’s all in my head, and I know that! But I’m glad I was able to do it by myself because I know I’ll need to a lot more in the future until I no longer need bandages. I have an appointment tomorrow and I’m hoping the doctor takes x-rays to see if any bones have started to fuse together.

But for today, Tom is traveling out to Long Island from Brooklyn to spend our actual anniversary together, which is sweet of him. It’s a long train ride and I know he’s had a lot on his plate at work, so it’s nice to be put above that for the day. I’m not 100% sure what the plan is, but I’m thinking Schafer’s in Port Jefferson (where we ate dinner before he proposed) and then maybe watch the sunset at West Meadow Beach (where he proposed…after watching the sunset). Maybe we’ll reenact the proposal, just for fun!

We have some engagement “photo shoot” pictures; if you’re looking for a good laugh, you can look through the outtakes – there were more of these than “good” pictures that day. Although we took these almost 2 years ago, they still make me crack up. Here’s a preview:

love

That’s true love right there! We also have our wedding photos if you’re interested to see those.

So yeah, we’ll see what the day brings and hopefully my feet can withstand a little fun!

One week post-foot surgery!

I’ve made it over the week mark and only had one emotional meltdown! I broke down the other night because of my restlessness from being immobile. Plus, I’m alone all day (with the exception of Finster) while everyone is at work and Tom’s been back in Brooklyn and traveling out of town, so it’s been difficult being away from him so much. Our one year anniversary is this Sunday, though, so I think we’ll get to spend some time together this weekend! And then next weekend we’re going to Montauk for some real anniversary time together. I’m really hoping I’m able to enjoy the beach and endure some walking to the center of town by then!

So yeah all of the emotions spilled out after I kind of banged my left big toe on the step going upstairs. Fearing that I may have screwed up my toe or something, I got freaked and the floodgates opened. It didn’t hurt a lot or make any unnatural noises, so I figured it was okay since the bandages keep my toes secure, but still. Everything had just kind of built up and then it all came out.

I called my mom to talk to her, and I felt a lot better; I know she understands more than anyone how I’m feeling. Being cooped up, spending most of your time alone, and being unable to do the things you want to is very frustrating. She ended up telling me a story about my great-aunt (by marriage), Tilly, who had bunions and was an, um, unpleasant person. Turns out that this was a unanimous opinion among my mom, her siblings, and her mother! And none of them had ever discussed that until they were all grown! Isn’t that funny?

I started working on this cat latch-hook tapestry thing on Wednesday and I plan on finishing it today. My mother-in-law bought it along with a paint-by-numbers for me to do while I’m recovering. It’s funny because it looks like Finster, so maybe I’ll hang it in his room when it’s finished. It’ll be like he’s looking in a mirror or something. I don’t want to do the PBN on the couch, so I figured the tapestry would be easy to do. And it is! It’s a pretty mindless task, but it does keep my mind busy and I do have to pay attention to the colors.

cat tapestry

I want to start the paint-by-numbers but I can’t sit up at a table for long before my feet start to swell and become super uncomfortable. I did a PBN a few years ago and it took so long (I think, like 6 months from start to finish) and it turned out so awesome! It’s hanging in our apartment because I’m so proud of it and it’s a nice picture.

original paint by number

I took a real shower yesterday and was surprised when I wasn’t in a ton of pain or completely exhausted afterwards. My feet/bandages got soaked because the shower caps were absolutely useless, so I just took them off and went commando. My mother-in-law helped change my bandages which was good because I did start to get a little woozy when she started on my right foot. We had a cold paper towel on standby which I used as a cooling agent and a blindfold.

When we got the bandages off of my right foot (she was much gentler than the doctor, which was good) I looked at my foot and felt fine; it wasn’t bloody or super bruised or anything. Anytime I move without bandages, however, I can sort of feel that my big toe is not 100% intact. It’s the way it feels jiggly that makes me feel like passing out. I think my mind makes up the image of my big toe flopping sideways or something. Once we got the right foot rebandaged, the left foot was a breeze. I felt fine with the left foot, even the big toe. It’s just that right big toe that gets to me. Weird.

I’ve been sitting outside the past couple days, trying to enjoy the beautiful summer weather as much as possible. Finster likes to join me outside, so it’s nice to have some company. Within an hour, though, I need to go inside and lay down because my feet swell. I put my feet up while sitting outside but it’s just not high enough.

sitting outside with Fin

This morning, I woke up and was pleasantly surprised to see spaces between my toes! They weren’t swollen and my feet felt great! But as soon as I stood up and started doing something, they instantly started to swell and hurt. I’ve got a lot more bruising on around the main part of my feet and have unfortunately run out of Arnica, so I’m keeping ice close by.

Walking continues to get easier, but there are times throughout the day where it gets hard again. It’s all because of the swelling, honestly. Once my feet start to swell, they hurt. When my feet hurt, walking hurts. When walking hurts, I suck at it. I’ve noticed that I’m able to put my feet flatter on the floor than I could a week ago. All progress is good progress!