Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Weigh-In Wednesday

Last Wednesday, I stepped on the scale to find that I had lost two pounds (in one week)! It doesn't seem like a lot, what with shows like the Biggest Loser and such, but I am trying to lose weight slowly and in a way that works for me. 
I used to weigh myself daily but I found myself getting frustrated with the lack of results, and it was driving me nuts! So now I've decided to weigh myself every Wednesday morning!
Most of that was just putting in a little bit more of an effort to eat vegetables and walk an extra 30 minutes every day. This week I found a great app for people with iPhones called Moves, which basically a pedometer. It tells you how many steps you've walked or miles you've run in a day.
My goal is to walk 10,000 steps, drink 8 glasses of water, and eat at least two fruits and two veggies daily, to start. I will most likely become more ambitious with time.
I also really love workout videos by Tiffany Rothe. They're on Youtube for free, the are all about 10 minutes long, and they will kick your butt! Here's my favorite:

Today when I stepped on the scale, I had lost another two pounds! Slowly but surely, I'll reach my goal! 

Weight lost: 4 lbs
Pounds to lose: 55 lbs
Hopefully I continue to lose about 2 pounds a week; it will take me almost a full year to reach my goal. I have faith!

Caryn Elizabeth

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Netflix Movie Night

Finding a good movie on Netflix Instant can take as long as watching an actual movie sometimes (or is that just me? I'm so indecisive), but if you take the time you may just find a gem! Here is a list of some movies featured on Netflix Instant which I personally recommend to y'all:

If you like Disney or kids' films:
Other Disney Favorites that you can find on Netflix Instant: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Dumbo!

If you like Romantic Comedies or Classics:
Roman Holiday (Vacanze Romane) 
It's set in Italy and it stars Audrey Hepburn... So it's a natural pick for me. Hepburn plays a princess who is taking a tour of Europe, and when in Rome, she grows tired of her highly scheduled life and takes off to discover Italy's capitol for her own.

If you like history or foreign films:
A Royal Affair (En Kongelig Affaere)
Starring Alicia Vikander, Mads Mikkelsen, and Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, this movie tells the story of Caroline Mathilde, a young British princess who was married off to King Christian VII of Denmark and Norway
After Caroline moved to Denmark and met the King, it became apparent that he was mentally ill. After he
they had their first child, a son, Christian turned his interests to the brothels in Copenhagen, and then
to travelling on a tour of Europe. He brought back with him the physician Johann Struensee,
who could handle his tempers. Caroline Mathilde and Struensee began to see each other, and it altered
the course of Danish history. 

Happy Netflixing,
Caryn Elizabeth

Monday, July 29, 2013

Wishlist: Back-to-School 2013 Edition

Since the new school year is getting closer, I decided to start a wishlist! Of course, I won't be purchasing most of these things since I'm saving for tuition for the next two years, but that's why it's called a wish-list, right?

A notebook or two from May Designs, about $17-20 each. I'm in love! 

Gramercy Hidden Zipper Satchel, $54 from Francesca's

Lilly Pulitzer academic sticker set, $6 from Lifeguard Press
"Merde, il pleut (Shit, it's raining)" Umbrella for $45, Buy here

Brave New World crewneck, $42 from Out of Print

What are you wishing for this Fall?

Much love, 
Caryn Elizabeth

Quote of the Week 7/29

Quotes are great, I just adore them. They give you a glimpse of an idea: of a novel, of a speech, a thought, whatever. And you can take that quote however you please, do with it what you please. I love to find quotes that inspire me to be a better person. 
This quote by American philosopher and psychologist William James is truly inspirational to me. It reminds me that though I may be just one person in this world of billions, but my actions can alter the course of time. What I do matters. 
What are you going to do with your precious time?

Caryn Elizabeth

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Wow, what a weekend!

So, last Friday was my new university's orientation for transfer students, and while I was expecting to meet a ton of new people, I really didn't meet many people, and besides running into them on campus, I doubt that I'll see any of them again. I may have met more people had I not gone to the wrong major's advising meeting in the morning. -sigh-
So, apparently at my new school, there is a difference between Italian Studies (my major) and Italian language studies (apparently not my major)... So I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off all day long, thinking I was taking all of the wrong classes, only to find out from one of the student volunteers that I was doing all of the wrong advising all day. 
Luckily, I was sent to the literature and history departments before they left (I cut it really close) so I have all of my classes for this quarter, but I have no idea how to get around school (there's buses to take you around campus, but which one do I take? When do they run?) or which college is which. So things are going to be pretty confusing for the first week or two. 
My mom came for the weekend, though, so I got to spend time with her and my doggies. We went on a nice morning walk on the beach pictured above, and then a friend from home came to visit. The three of us shared the best cupcakes in the world and then went to see the Conjuring.
The Conjuring started off alright, particularly since the doll pictured above was involved in the beginning of the film, and the doll alone is just freaky. However, toward the middle of the movie, I thought it was just going to be another mediocre horror movie. It started to move really slowly and went for a lot of cheap scares that just weren't scary. But then, at the end of the movie, things looked up. It got pretty frightening - there were a few laughable moments, but overall, they put together a horror film that was better than I'd seen in a long while. 

Enjoy what's left of the weekend! 
Caryn Elizabeth

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pre-K Wednesday: Camping Theme! (With Mason Jars!)

The school where I work is up-and-coming, which is great because our class sizes are low and we get to come up with new ways to teach, finding what ways work best. Right now, we're trying theme weeks in order to inspire our creativity as teachers and give our students some structure. So, our very first theme week is: Camping!
We set up a tent and a "picnic table" inside the rec. room, and with our mural, it looks like the kids are camping on a beach! For snacks, we've been doing things like graham crackers, hot dogs, and we're even going to have s'mores! Since we can't have the kids around an open flame (danger alert!), we're going to cook them on the stove and let them pretend to make s'mores with their own "campfire:" 

Earlier this week, we did a mason jar printable project: since we don't have fireflies/lightning bugs in California, we used the printable on top of black construction paper, and let the kids finger paint lightning bugs!

My example piece

Example in the middle, with two great projects by the kids on either side.

This project was great: it was easy, quick, and the kids loved it. We will definitely be doing things like this again.

Caryn Elizabeth

Monday, July 22, 2013

Summer Reading: Under the Never Sky

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
I have found a new book obsession: The Under the Never Sky series. I'm not kidding; I devoured the first two books in two days only to find that the next book won't be out until January. January! And so begins the waiting game. So anyway, during the first book, I was a little bit unsure. But I pushed myself through the one really awkward moment, and I was rewarded with a wonderful second half of the first book and an even better second book.
You can tell from the cover that there is romance involved, but I feel like this book is more than just the romance, which is always a big plus for me. I'm a romantic but if that's the only thing driving a story, it drives me insane. So that fact alone kept me enthralled. This book was classified as a Dystopian on Goodreads, but I feel that it leans more towards Sci-Fi (just giving you fair warning!). And so, without any (more) delay:
The Synopsis: Aria has always lived in Reverie, a protected dome, where she has access to the Realms, which can take her anywhere her heart desires. In the dome, and in the Realms, nothing can hurt her. She's safe. But the Realms aren't real. When her mother goes missing in the Real, Aria takes a risk to try to find her, and she pays: she is exiled to the outside, in the wastelands. Her chance of survival is slim to none, but then she meets an outsider. Perry's searching for a lost family member, too, and even though he's a savage, Aria knows her best chance at survival is to become his ally. They must face many things together, and despite reluctance on both sides, they are each other's best hope for finding the people they love.
My rating: 4/5

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
Since this is the second book in the series, I don't want to post the synopsis because it will give away the end of the first book. If you're one of those people who likes to know the ending before reading the book, feel free to click on the link above! So, I'll just get to how I felt about this book... It was, in Reverie-speak, "champ." I blasted through this in less than a day, and that's including work, so I am definitely going to be rereading. It was just so good and I wanted to know the ending so badly. I thoroughly enjoyed it. 
My rating: 4.5/5

Happy Reading! 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Girls' Night In

Every once in a while (more for me lately, since I don't know anyone in this town), a girls' night in is the best option for a Friday or Saturday evening. Pop in a DVD (or two or three), have a cocktail, and cuddle up on the couch. It's the perfect remedy for a long week at work.
My favorite cocktail of the moment: strawberry daiquiri!
Mix Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum with Safeway's Cocktail Classics strawberry daiquiri mix. Throw in some ice and a few frozen strawberries and blend. Viola! A very yummy, easy cocktail for Girls' Night In! 

The Best Girls' Night In Movies:
Legally Blonde: It's funny, cute, and feminist! Love it!
Breakfast At Tiffany's: Because Audrey Hepburn is the greatest! 
The Covenant: Well, this is a personal favorite... It's actually pretty bad, but the boys are just so cute! So, it makes up for it. 

What are your favorite Girls' Night In movies or activities?
I'd love to know! 


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Boardwalk Concerts

Last Friday, 7/12/13
Every Friday night during Summer, the Boardwalk has free Friday night concerts, which is great entertainment for people on a budget (like me!). So my roommate and I headed downtown for some cheap food before going to last week's concert, Blue Oyster Cult. 
It was a pretty great show. We were a bit late so we had to sit pretty far back, but as you can see above, the view was pretty wonderful. The music rocked, and the crowd was enthusiastic, which made the show that much better. 
For those of you also on a budget, you should check out if there are free concerts or shows in your area! It certainly does something to shake up your weekend. 

Caryn Elizabeth

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Earth laughs in flowers

That is a quote that I absolutely adore, by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Being a very girly girl, I have always loved flowers, but gardening was never really my thing... Until recently! I have discovered that I have a knack for growing plants! Having just moved, I really want a sanctuary-type place where I can just fell calm. I think that if I put in enough work, I can create a garden that does just that.

This is a photo I took at the school where I work. Isn't this flower just gorgeous?
I really love lavender, anemone, allium, and daisies. But what I (and it seems half of the gardening world) have been really interested in is succulents. In my coastal climate, I won't have to worry too much about watering them daily, and they're really fun and kinda funky, which I like. I mean, take a look:

They're just so great! I already have a few succulent plants in my possession, but I will update when my garden grows! 

Much love, 
Caryn Elizabeth

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Healthy Summer

There's something about summertime that makes me want to eat better, exercise, and become a healthier person. Maybe it's all of that fresh fruit and veggies, or maybe it's something in the air. Either way, I'm doing my best this summer to become a happier, healthier version of me

Some of the yummy goodness I've been enjoying is pictured above. Currently, my favorite healthy snack has been hummus with broccoli, tomato, and carrots. However, fruit is what I love most: I am obsessed with pineapple, strawberries, and mango. They're seriously the best. I've been making smoothies to-go and walking on the beach, which should be great for my calves! (The exfoliation of my feet in the sand doesn't hurt, either). 
So this summer will be a new beginning for me: I will eat better. I will exercise more. And I will become the healthy person that I know I can be. 

What are some of your favorite healthy foods/snacks?

Much love, 
Caryn Elizabeth

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Summer Reading

Who doesn't love lounging by the pool, or better yet, the ocean, with the sun shining bright overhead, book in hand? I certainly love that feeling; I wait for it all year long.
Here's some of my book recommendations for this summer:
Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan
Synopsis: Four girls (named Celia, Bree, Sally, and April) are placed in the same dorm during their freshman year at a Northeastern liberal arts college. They're all quite different in personality and background, yet over the course of their four years in school, they struggle with adult life, learn lessons, and bond as a group. They reunite four years after graduation for Sally's wedding, and despite their growing differences, their devotion to one another is strong. However, one of the girls finds trouble and it is up to the other three to help her. 
My review: This book kept me up reading for days, despite the fact that I tried very hard to spread it out. The characters' stories each drew me in, and I felt as though I could be a part of this group. The situations these girls end up in are very realistic; this is a great read for college students and those entering adulthood. 
My rating: 4.5/5 stars

Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley
Synopsis: City-girl Corrinne's world is falling apart. Used to her extravagant life in New York City, she and her brother are sent to live with her grandparents in Texas, and Corrinne refuses to accept it. She will do whatever it takes to get her life back on the "right track:" going to boarding school, getting her credit cards back, and more. However, she's stuck in public school with a job shoveling manure. Will this city girl find a home in the country?
My review: It was a quick read, and one that I really enjoyed. The protagonist acted like a spoiled brat at first, but that was to be expected. She grew up quite a bit, though, and became a much more enjoyable protagonist. This book was sweet and a bit predictable, but sometimes that is just what you need. This is a perfect summer read. 
My rating: 3.5/5 stars

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares
Synopsis: In the fifth and final installment of the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants books, Tibby, Carmen, Lena, and Bridget are beginning their adult lives, and despite the fact that the Pants have been lost, their friendship continues on. The closeness that they once shared is missing, however, and it has affected each of the women greatly. Tibby reaches out to the others, sending them plane tickets for a reunion in Greece. That trip will change their lives forever, in the least expected way. 
My review: The Sisterhood has been a part of my life since middle school, but I feel that this book was written in such a way that even if you hadn't read the other books, you could grasp that these women shared a deep bond. Much has happened since the last installment, and the girls have grown up and apart. During what should have been a happy reunion in Greece, something entirely unexpected happens. I cried, I laughed, and I cried some more. But the end of this book, and the series, was worth all of it. 
My rating: 4/5 stars 

Happy reading, 
Caryn Elizabeth

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Summer 2013 Bucketlist

I know that it's technically been summer for a little over three weeks now, but I would like to post what I had on my bucket list for this summer:

  • Get a job


  • move in to my new place

Swim with the dolphins

  • Bonfireeee! 

  • Swim in the ocean

  • Watch the sunrise 

  • And the sunset

  • Make sweet tea

  • Get a nice tan

  • Drive-in movies

  • Watch fireworks

  • Try a new recipe

  • Go camping 

  • Make butterbeer

  • Disney Movie Marathon

  • Learn something new

  • Have a picnic 

  • Roadtrip!

  • Get a new tattoo

  • Go to the mystery spot

  • Water balloon fight

  • Visit Hearst Castle

  • Girl’s Night Out

  • Go hiking

  • Take a ton of photos

  • Summer Scrapbook!

  • Save up money for Europe

  • Get a passport

  • Go to a concert

  • PARTY! (:

What is on your Summer bucket list?

Happy Summer, 

Caryn Elizabeth

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Mexico 2013

So during June of this year, I went down to Puerto Vallarta with most of my family, which was pretty awesome.
I made sure to pack lots of sunscreen and a very large, floppy hat (it's from World Market) but I was still lobster-red by day three. 
We stayed at this beautiful resort, called Velas Vallarta. It has two pools (one with a bar, which was on my bucket list!), a beautiful lobby and even its own private beach. 
The "adults-only" pool, complete with bar! It was wonderful. This is where we spend most of our days, lounging and soaking up the sun. 
Seeing the peacocks around the resort was my favorite part of the trip, except for....
Swimming with the dolphins! 
My little cousin is obsessed with dolphins, and so her only request was to have a private swim with them. I was excited, too, and being around the two dolphins, Eva and Mila, was majestic. It was an experience I'm unlikely to forget. 

I feel very blessed to have had this trip with my family, and I hope to continue travelling to at least one new place every year. 
Where would you guys love to travel?

Dolphin kisses, 
Caryn Elizabeth

Monday, July 8, 2013

Work in Progress

This blog, at the moment, is a work in progress. I hope to figure out the ropes of this thing, so please be forgiving!
My life, too, is a work in progress. I live in this wonderful new town by the ocean, I'm transferring to a UC this fall, and I am so lucky to have found a job that I love here already. I'm currently a pre-school teaching assistant, and as I get more classes under my belt, I can become a teacher! It's not necessarily what I want to do permanently, but for now, I am loving it.
I even get to teach/read to them in Italian! Considering I'm majoring in Italian Studies, this is really a perk. I even learn new words when reading books like this one. So far, the kids have really enjoyed listening to me say the numbers. It's just so great that I get to incorporate my passion into my job. 

What are you all passionate about?

Until next time, 
Caryn Elizabeth

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Moving Out

It's hard to do, for some. Awfully easy for others. For me, personally, it's been quite difficult. My whole life, it had been just my mom and me against the world. And now, it's just me and my 20-pound Italian Greyhound/Jack Russell Terrier. My roommate should be moving in sometime this month, and hopefully that all works out for the best. 
On the other hand, living seven-tenths of a mile from this lovely sight isn't too shabby! I've been pretty busy with work and unpacking, but when I'm feeling way too stressed or overwhelmed, I'll just come down here to this little beach with a book and relax for a little while. 

This is my baby; her name is Angel. She's not too fond of the water, but she certainly loves to dig up the sand! 

Until next time,