The Book That Made Me Fall in Love With Reading!

 

Now that I think about it I feel like I should have wrote my review to this book a long time ago. Harper Lee is one of my all time favorite authors and the fact that it took me this long to realize that I hadn’t reviewed her books yet makes me sad!!

Before I get to the book review I think it’s only appropriate that I talk about the amazing Harper Lee herself!

Harper Lee is best known for writing the Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) and Go Set a Watchman (2015). Lee was born April 28, 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama. She is the youngest of four children, grew up a tomboy in a small town where her father was a lawyer, a member of the Alabama state legislature and owned a portion of the local news paper…hmm does that sound familiar to anyone?!? For most of her life however, her mother was said to have suffered from a mental illness (supposedly bipolar disorder) and she rarely left the house.

She grew up with Truman Capote (who would later also become a writer). During their childhood, Lee who was tougher than most of the boys she knew, often stepped up to protect Truman who was often picked on for being sensitive and not sharing many interests (if at all any) that other boys his age had. Though Truman and Lee were very different, they had one major similarity; they had touch home lives.

Fast forwarding to her college years; in her junior year at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, she was accepted into the university’s law school. The demands of her law studies however, forced her to give up things that she loved, such as writing for the Rammer Jammer and being it’s editor. After one year in the program Lee expressed that writing was her true passion.

Lee went to Oxford University in England as an exchange student, after returning to her law studies that fall, Lee dropped out after the first semester and moved north to follow her dreams of becoming a writer.

For several years she struggled in New York City, working as a ticket agent. However while she was there she was reunited with her old friend Capote who was one of literatures rising stars of the time and also befriended the Broadway composer and lyricist Michael Martin Brown, who later that year would offer her the best present an aspiring writer could ever receive; Brown and his wife offered to support Lee for a year so that she could begin writing full time. The Browns were also kind enough to help her find an agent who would later get a publisher (J.B. Lippincott Company) interested in her work. While working with the editor, Lee was able to write the manuscript, set in a small Alabama town, which would later become her novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

To Kill a Mockingbird is the book of Lee’s that I am going to be reviewing first (a review of Go Set a Watchman will be coming later!). I read this book for the first time when I was in seventh grade and I loved it. I enjoyed reading before I read this book, but I can honestly say that this book made me fall in love with reading!

Continue reading “The Book That Made Me Fall in Love With Reading!”

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My Favorite Workout Playlist

Have you ever been working out and all of a sudden your favorite song comes on in your earbuds and you feel this sudden burst of energy to run faster, jump higher or push through one more rep? Well there have been a multitude of studies done that show there is a correlation between that burst of energy and that song.

According to Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D., from London’s Brunel University School of Sport and Education, “music is like a legal drug for athletes, it can reduce the perception of effort significantly and increase endurance by as much as 15%” (ACE-Fitness).

If you’re anything like me though, I get bored easily with my playlists and they are constantly changing. However, my currently playlist has been one of my favorites (with a few additions as new songs come out), for a very long time and I always find myself reverting back to it. I’ve occasionally used it in my fitness classes as well and my students seem to really enjoy it!

Continue reading “My Favorite Workout Playlist”

55 strange things teachers have had to say to their students!

If you’re a teacher you know exactly what I’m talking about. You’re in the middle of a lesson and a student does something that makes you think “What the actual F is that kid doing” and then of course you have to remind him or her that their behavior isn’t exactly…..appropriate or something that they should be doing.

I’ve only been in the classroom for 3 years now so I don’t have that many of these stories. So, to help me out I reached out to some of my teacher friends on Facebook and I got 55 hilarious…and sometimes shocking things that they have had to say to their students! Here they are….

 

Continue reading “55 strange things teachers have had to say to their students!”

#Millennials #GenerationY

Before we get started with this book review….yes I said book review (did the title throw you off?? #sorrynotsorry), let me start off with a little bit of background information for those of you who might not know what/who a millennial is.

Millennials, also referred to as generation Y, applies to individuals who reached adulthood around the turn of the 21st century. The term is credited to the authors of the book Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069; Neil Howe and William Strauss. They specifically defined the term as related to any individual that was born between 1982 and 2004.

Millennials grew up in an electronic-filled and increasingly developing online world filled with social-networking and caring about how many likes your statuses and photos get. Though most like to associate negative thoughts and ideas with millennials I feel that often times there are other aspects of this group of people that are often overlooked (also don’t forget you can’t just assume that someone born between ’82 and ’04 has every trait that a millennial is supposed to have…I don’t think I do and I was born in ;92!). Anyways, this generation is generally the most ethnically diverse generation and were raised in a time where they could be very tolerant to differences instead of lashing out or critical of people/things for their difference.

The biggest thing associated with millennials is technology. Unlike some generations, millennials grew up with computers and the internet. I remember being in middle school and rushing home to get my homework done so that I could spend hours making my AIM (AOL instant messager) away message was perfect…and then once it was I would sit there and wait for someone I wanted to talk to, to come on and I would suddenly come back from being “away”…yeah that was a thing. Oh, and please don’t even get me started on Myspace…..the top friends list….that was stressful…and the profile pictures….nope don’t even want to talk about it!  That leads me perfectly into what this book is about….

 

First of all the book is called Startup and is written by a writer for Buzzfeed, Doree Shafrir. This book is fittingly all about tech culture in New York City. But it is honestly much more than just a book about millennials and their life in tech culture in the city. It focuses on what it is like for journalists to chase a story down and get it up and running; it looks at how we use apps to navigate us through our daily lives…sometimes the simplest of tasks…there’s an app for that! But what I love the most about this book is how it focuses on how things have evolved throughout this digital age.

This workplace drama filled with Snapchats and anonymous Twitter accounts centers around a modern yet also timeless issue….love affairs in the workplace! It is also a story of youth, ambition, relationships and their fallouts, ethics in journalism, bromances, sexting, and so much more! The subtle twists and turns in this book are what really made it an enjoyable read for me.

I would really like to see another book in the future….after reading the book and pondering on it for a while I realize now that I have a lot of questions that I need answered. Which I will not share because if you are going to go get the book then well…it would spoil it for you and I don’t want to do that! But even with some unanswered questions, this was a good read and I hope some of you will check it out too!

Have you read Startup? What did you think??
Are you technically considered a Millennial? Do you agree or disagree with the definition of a Millennial?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Xoxo, Shelby

 

TREAT yourself…don’t CHEAT yourself…

Hello friends!

 

I know it’s been a minute since I’ve posted anything and for that I apologize. Sometimes life just gets crazy and well…life happens but that’s okay! I’m back now and I’m doing my best to stock up on some posts so that this doesn’t happen again! But that’s not what this post is about so let’s get back on track!

 

Raise your hand if you have ever heard of the term “cheat meal“….I’m sure every single one of you reading this raised your hand (or maybe you thought to yourself well yeah of course I’ve heard of a cheat meal). I know the term “cheat meal” is a very popular term and I used to use it all the time….until I met my good friend Danielle (I swear I’ve probably dedicated over half of my fitness related posts to this girl because she’s just got some amazing ideas!). Danielle taught me to stop using the term “cheat meal” and to start using the term “treat meal“. You’re probably thinking to yourself “what’s the difference and why does it matter? Either way I’m eating what I want!” Well let me tell you that I thought the same thing, but now that I’ve been doing this whole fitness thing for a while and actually taking it seriously….I see the difference and I recognize the difference and I’m here to share with you those differences!

Let me just start by asking you this question, when you are having a “cheat meal” are you not making a conscience choice to put that food into your body? The correct answer is yes, yes you are! If you’re making the conscience choice to only do that once a month or once every so many weeks then guess what you’re not cheating on yourself, you’re not cheating on your fitness and nutrition plan, you are deciding that you have been working hard and that your body deserves a TREAT and guess what that is okay!!

After I finished my 6 week shift shop program I am not going to lie I had a treat meal. Did I turn it into a treat week? Nope. Did I have a treat day? Maybe….okay I’m not going to lie to you I’m going to keep it 100% with you…I did have one treat day! But I felt that I had earned that treat day and I had been following the meal plan and the workouts strongly for 6 weeks, I had great results, I felt that my body was ready for a treat. There’s nothing wrong with that but I made sure that I went back to my meal plan after my treat day.

Now you’re probably thinking to yourself “why in the world is someone who is so into health and fitness encouraging me to have a treat meal?” Well according to some studies there is a psychological component to having a treat meal. Without rewards, it can become difficult to keep up with a healthy lifestyle day in and day out. Occasionally allowing yourself that treat meal can help you to get through those tough times in your health and fitness lifestyle. Like I said earlier, it’s better if you allow yourself a treat meal not a treat day. There’s a difference! Allowing yourself a whole treat day can take a toll on your body and all of the hard work you have put in for the week. Just be mindful of what you’re deciding to treat yourself with, how often you are deciding to treat yourself and how much of that treat you are indulging in. You will be a lot happier when it comes to sticking to that healthy eating lifestyle you have committed to!

What’s your favorite treat meal?? Leave it in the comments below!

Xoxo Shelby

 

Teaching is easy…said no teacher ever…

I am going to try to keep this short because well to be completely honest I could talk about this forever.

When I was in college the amount of times that I heard that Education is a “lazy major” made me cringe! Sure from the outside looking in it looks easy, but have you ever tried keeping a room full of 20-30 little ones not only quiet long enough to hear instructions but interested in what you’re saying….or even worse teenagers! It’s not as easy as it sounds. And once you do have their attention have you ever thought about how difficult it is to get all of them to actually understand and retain the information that you’re teaching them?

Imagine this you have a classroom of 30 kids and you have to get those 30 kids to understand a certain topic. Amongst those 30 kids you will have a handful of visual learners, audio learners, hands-on learners, and a few students who can learn and grasp things in multiple formats. What do you do? You can’t teach the lesson in 5 different ways because that would take up way too much time and there are only about 6 or 7 hours in a school day. As a teacher I can tell you what I would do is to try and teach whatever lesson it is in a way that is going to reach the majority of my students. Why? Because then those students that need the extra help have multiple resources (myself and their classmates) that they can reach out to in order to get help fully understanding the lesson. I would also switch it up every once in a while, instead of lecturing all the time throw in some group work and some labs and other ways of allowing the students to learn than just one way.

Not only do we have to teach these kiddos every day, but it’s our job to make sure that their behavior is on point…and let me tell you that is not easy! The amount of things that I have had to remind students not to do….sometimes I think I could write a book! I’ve had to remind students not to lick certain things because they have germs on them, not to put pencils or other sharp objects near their eyes….the list could go on and on! I mean I could get specific but…..I might have to start collecting these things and make that a totally different blog post! I’m sure ya’ll would get a kick out of that!

Anyways…I think I got a little off track so let’s refocus!

Other than teaching being an “easy” profession…I think the number one thing that I hear “non-teachers” say to teachers is how we should love our jobs because we get “summers off”. Oh honey how I wish that were true!! We have personal development that we must keep up with in order to keep our licenses, we have to tear down our classrooms so that they can be cleaned and then we have to set them up again, we have to start doing lesson plans for the next school year….I could continue on with this list to be honest. A number of us also have a second job, which we often will pick up more hours at during the summer. So for all of my non-teacher friends out there…I’m sorry we don’t exactly get summers off.

Like I said, I’m going to keep this one short, so I’ll just stop there! Really this was nothing more than me venting a little bit about how some people tend to think that teaching is easy. Hopefully I didn’t offend anyone. To all of my teacher friends, did I forget anything?? Has anyone ever made a comment to you about our profession that made you roll your eyes?!? Leave it in the comments below!

Xoxo Shelby  

The scale is NOT your friend…

Friends….we all know that losing weight and being healthy is hard. But what if I told you that you could make it so much easier by doing just one simple thing…..step off the scale. Yes that’s right I said step off the scale.

Let me ask you all a question….how often do you weigh yourself? Once a month? Once a week? Every day? Be honest with yourself. I’m not going to lie when I first started exercising and being healthy I used to weigh myself way too much, so much that at one point I can honestly say that I became obsessed with the number on the scale, and that my friends is not a good thing. Want to know how often I weight myself now? I weigh myself before I begin a workout program and then after I finish that workout program. So maybe at most once or twice a month. You’re probably thinking to yourself “umm then how do you know if the workout program is workout?? How do you know if you’re seeing results?” Well I will tell you a few reasons why I know without stepping one foot on the scale, but first let’s talk about why the scale is not your friend.

Continue reading “The scale is NOT your friend…”

Finding love in a troublesome time

Have you ever been reading a book and just not been able to connect to any of the characters or even been able to really follow the story line?? That’s how I felt when I started reading Exit West, maybe it was because I picked it up at a busy time in my life and I could only read the first chapter at first and then when I did pick it up again I finally had more time to dive into it. But this book took me until chapter 3 or 4 to really understand what was happening. But I’m the type of person that once I start a book I have to finish it.

Before I go into my thoughts on the book let me give you a little bit of background about the book.

Exit West is a story based in a country teetering on the brink of civil war. During this crazy and terrifying time you wouldn’t think that people would have time to even think about love. But two you people meet; Nadia the sensual and fiercely independent woman that she is and Saeed who is more gentle and restrained. As the story unfolds their love affair begins to blossom even more, but as the chaos in their city begins to erupt it makes it more and more difficult for them to see each other.

The chaos explodes their once familiar streets are turned into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts. They begin to hear whispers of doors that will whisk you away to a safer place. At first Nadia and Saeed cannot even fathom leaving their country, and their families. But as the violence in their country begins to escalate, Nadia and Saeed decide that it would be in their best interest to leave.

We get to follow these characters as they emerge into an uncertain future. They struggle to hold on to each other, their past and who they are.  There are ups and downs throughout the whole book. Will Saeed and Nadia succeed in holding on to who they are and this amazing relationship that they have built or will their relationship fall apart the same way that their country did? Continue reading “Finding love in a troublesome time”

16 years later…

Where were you on that September day that shook our nation??

It’s been 16 long years and I can definitely tell you that it feels like it was just yesterday. Now I know you’re probably thinking “wait what does this have to do with teaching?” It doesn’t to be honest but I was in school when this happened, fourth grade to be exact.

I can remember vividly coming in from recess or lunch and seeing my parents and several of my friends parents standing in the cross walk helping direct traffic and help us kids to get across the street. I remember seeing the sad looks on everyone’s faces but I also remember that no one would tell us kids what was wrong. I remember hearing “you’ll find out soon” several, several times. I remember being called into the classroom here we were greeting by our 4th grade teacher, the TV was out and we were about to be told the news. I remember writing about it in my journal and not being sure how I should feel, but I remember being sad and confused because why would anyone want to hurt innocent people?

I remember my parents taking me home early from school that day, and I remember watching the news high lights over and over again. Watching as the towers were hit and hearing about the plane that went down in Pennsylvania.

I may have only been 9 years old, but I remember that day so vividly as I know many other do too. It will be a day that will forever be etched into my brain. Every year when I see memorials or hear songs about this day, I can’t help but get emotional. Thinking of all the people that lost their lives that day. All of those innocent people on those planes. All of the people in the twin towers, and all of the amazing first responders and volunteers who lost their lives that day. My heart breaks for them and their families that were left behind with nothing but memories.

Do you remember where you were on September 11, 2001?? Leave it in the comments below.

Xo’s Shelby

Sons of Anarchy Meets 50 Shades of Grey?!?!

How many people can say that they got the chance to interview an author of a book that they read and loved?!?! I am more than excited to announce that I had the opportunity to interview Stephanie Blakeman, the author of If the Key Fits. If you haven’t read this book yet….you need to, it was so incredibly good!

Before I get into the interview questions let me give you a little synopsis of the book!

Casey Calvert is living the life that she has always dreamed of after surviving a too close for comfort brush with death. She up and moved to a small town where she has managed to not only find her dream job, but the perfect fiancé, life seriously couldn’t get any better!! The best part? No one has any idea that she came from anything short of a respectable New York upbringing. Her not so perfect, perfect life, gets shaken up when she is confronted by Gavin, or Blaze as she once knew him.

Blaze was the only man that Casey had ever loved and was the one person that she trusted to get her out of trouble. However, when she was supposed to meet him to run away, she was instead greeted by her at the time boyfriend (and the head of the MC) Slayer….you could say that he was anything less than happy and this is where Casey found herself deep in trouble with the MC.

Gavin Matthews… broke the number one rule of going undercover…..don’t get personal. He is still struggling to put the time he spent with Sinner’s Breed MC (motorcycle club) behind him, even after being released from protective custody. Instead of moving on, he spends his days trying to figure out the ways that he could have saved the girl that he accidentally fell in love with.

When their connection is released from prison, once again Gavin is sent in to protect Casey. This time however is a little different. Underneath the person that she is trying to be, Casey is even more broken and damaged than she was before and Gavin knows that unfortunately he is the main source of her pain. While protecting her Gavin has a huge task ahead of him, he needs to convince her that he is still the same person that she knew before while also proving to her that he will do anything to make things right, no matter what that means.

They say that it takes a saint to save a sinner….sometimes, it takes a sinner to save a saint.

 

Continue reading “Sons of Anarchy Meets 50 Shades of Grey?!?!”