Sunday, March 24, 2013

First World Problems

I have now had the Clarisonic Mia2 Brush for approximately three months and it is probably my favorite beauty item.  My mom was sweet enough to buy me one last year with some ultra mega discounts she got.  The Clarisonic is quite a splurge for the average shopper, running anywhere from $119 to $200, but let me tell you that it is worth it.  Clarisonic has amazing customer service too! With a Limited 1-3 year warranty and a 90-Day 100% Money Back Guarantee, how can you not try it?

My friend recently had a defective Clarisonic brush that stopped turning on/off out of nowhere, she called Clarisonic, they shipped one to her the very next day with two new brush heads and a label for her to ship her old one right back.  AMAZING customer service or what?

According to Clarisonic, their cleansing benefits include:

  • Removes 6X more makeup than manual cleansing
  • Leaves skin feeling and looking smoothe
  • Removes impurities that keep creams and serums from working their best
  • Gentle enough to use twice a day
  • Reduces oily areas, dry skin patches and blemishes
  • Minimizes the appearance of visible pores

It only takes one minute to wash your face.  You use it for 20 seconds on forehead, 20 seconds on chin/nose, and 10 seconds on each cheek.  Voila!

I have the Mia2 (Retail $149) in this soft pink color, but it comes in all sorts of fun colors
Difference between the Mia and the Mia2, a nice travel case and a timer! Mia2 is the way to go. Check out the Clarisonic website for more info.

My last beauty rant involves something a little bit on the citrus side.  I have a bit of an obsession with The Body Shop's Satsuma line.  I started using their Satsuma Body Butter last spring and fell in love.  The smell is so natural, none of that artificial smelling yucky stuff.  The Body Shop is all about natural ingredients, against animal testing, vegetarian, fair trade, and protecting the planet.  My second favorite product from the Satsuma line is the body wash.  I love to shower, there is nothing like a good shower to rejuvenate you, but let me tell you that the Satsuma body wash gives a new meaning to the shower experience.  You can smell the lovely citrus even after you shower, and you will give shower envy to whomever showers after you.  It basically rocks my world and you should go check it out after you finish reading this.

Do you have a body wash you feel this way about? Give a testimonial about your Clarisonic! Share below!

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Thank goodness it's spring y'all! I am so happy to see flowers blooming, the weather getting warmer, sunny showers, and brighter colors taking over my wardrobe.  Spring is bittersweet because it means my last weeks in Louisiana will soon come to an end and a chapter in my life will close, but I've got to focus on enjoying the daily happenings in my life.

On a sunnier note, my sweet friend Christine at xtine danielle has nominated me for the Liebster Award.  I've always wanted to be nominated for a blog award and getting my blog out there is one of my annual goals.  Working as a busy teacher, I don't get to focus on my blog as much as I would like to, but come summer time and once I start graduate school in the fall I intend on dedicating much more time to The Bright Side.

Thank YOU Christine for the nomination and for helping me to promote my blog.  Christine is one of the sunniest people I know, she has an incredible story and always has a smile on her face.  I remember Christine being a pleasure to talk to at all times, her love for the Boston Red Sox, and her love for good music.

What is it?
The Liebster Award is given to new and upcoming bloggers who have less than 200 followers or so.  Liebster is German for "sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome." 

Nomination made by...
Christine at xtine danielle nominated me here for the award. Merci, beaucoup.

Liebster rules...
Learning more about each other is the name of the game. The Liebster blog award rules are as follows:
  1. Post 11 random facts about yourself.
  2. Answer 11 questions from your nominator.
  3. Nominate 11 other blogs with under 200 followers and ask them 11 questions.
11 Random Facts About Me
  1. I like odd numbers.  A lot.  Whenever I pump gas I have to stop pumping at an odd number, like $33.03. Oh, I guess I also like the number three. 
  2. My favorite time of day is twilight or just before, right when the evening starts to get a little bit cooler.  Everything looks magical at this time of day.
  3. I really enjoy dining outside whenever the weather is warm enough and not too humid.
  4. I am in love with the Pacific Northwest.
  5. I am a die-hard proud Texan and love all things Texas, including: bluebonnets, country music, boots, the rodeo, the Lone Star flag, Shiner beer, BBQ, and the Alamo.
  6. Even though it's difficult for me to choose, I think my favorite season is fall. No,, fall. It's definitely fall. 
  7. My first language was Spanish and I did not learn English fluently until I was five years old.
  8. The sweetest voice I've ever heard comes out of the mouth of Amos Lee.
  9. I truly enjoy buying creative and thoughtful gifts for people more than I enjoy receiving them.
  10. My favorite alcoholic beverages include: microbrews, red wine (Malbec), and anything with gin.
  11. I cannot see myself not working for social justice, specifically education.   
11 Questions Posed by Nominator
  1. Why did you start blogging? I started blogging (the first time) when I was a sophomore in college because my good friend told me I should spread my positivity.  The name came from how many times I said "on the bright side" to others.  I stopped blogging, not knowing much about it short after my junior year and not sure of what direction I wanted my blog to take.  After a life-changing year post-graduation I returned to the blog world and have been back ever since.
  2. Describe yourself in two words. Silver Lining ;)
  3. What’s your all time favorite tv show? Can I have four? Friends, Grey's Anatomy, The Wonder Years, and Gilmore Girls.
  4. What’s one quirky thing about yourself? Everything about me is quirky (right, Margarew?).  I like leaving notes on my receipts for waiters and waitresses at restaurants, even if it's simply a handwritten thank you.
  5. What’s your biggest inspiration? Currently, my students, and all who have experienced and/or are currently experiencing injustices in our country.
  6. Name three places you’d like to travel to? In the United States: Oregon, Maine, and Alaska.  In the World: Argentina, Ireland, and Morocco.  But really I would love to go to all seven continents.
  7. Have you ever sky dived? Would you? I have never sky dived nor do I have the desire to do so. I feel like this is that one question that defines whether I am "cool, hip, or happening" lol.  Sorry I'm not sorry.
  8. What’s your favorite quality about yourself? I attempt to be humble, inspirational to others, and empathetic.
  9. What’s your favorite social media tool/network? It's a tie between Twitter and the Instagram. Probably Twitter, though.
  10. If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it? I wish I had a moving and monumental answer to this, but I would have to do a lot of thinking.  I would definitely hire a lawyer first.  Then, I would pay off my graduate school.  After this is taken care of I would expect myself to do only good and necessary things with the money.
  11. What’s your all time favorite meal? Food is my favorite thing. I enjoy a good meal and this is so difficult to decide.  My favorite meal would definitely include seafood (fish, scallops, crab cakes), a twice baked potato, an amazing salad, a glass of wine, and plain cheesecake with strawberries for dessert. 
My 11 Liebster Award Nominations

11 Questions For Nominated Bloggers
  1. What is your favorite season?
  2. Who was your first concert?
  3. What is your go-to Karaoke song?
  4. What is your favorite quote and why?
  5. What is your favorite blog post and give us the link to it?
  6. Who or what inspires you?
  7. What is one thing you cannot do without in the morning?
  8. When are you at your happiest? 
  9. List three strengths and three weaknesses about yourself.
  10. What is your all-time favorite song?
  11. What are three blogs you read regularly?

Enjoy. If you're a reader, feel free to answer the questions above in a comment.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Whaley // Solidarity // Intentions

My favorite spot these days
Let's talk about how much time I have spent on my front porch since 3:30pm yesterday, or rather since this past week.  My front porch has become a place of solidarity for me.  A place for deep thoughts, for rejuvenation after a long day at work, for remembering to enjoy the simple things, the small things, the little pleasures that a stressful and hectic job can make you take for granted.  I will miss this Louisiana town so much in a few months.  This chapter of my life is ending and a new one is beginning in less than six months.  Wherever I go, this front porch will be reminisced.

I would just like to preface this post by saying that my intentions are not to devalue men or women in their mid-twenties to early thirties, but to simply express some current observations and thoughts.

Lately my girlfriends and I have been discussing relationships, both old and current and I feel that many women in their twenties feel jaded towards men.  I cannot speak for men, maybe they too feel jaded towards women.  I have taken a slight noticing that many men do not seem to mature or as we, the women say, "grow up."  I would hate to say this is only one gender, I am just speaking from a woman's point of view.  It could possibly be that there are two extremes of people once we reach a certain post-adolescent age.  One group being the group of individuals with mature thoughts, those that understand and acknowledge how to interact with the opposite sex fully.  Courtship, dating, and not afraid of being "real" with other people.  Providing clarity, communicating, and being courteous.  If you are not interested in talking to someone anymore, tell them that.  If you are not interested in dating someone, communicate that.  If you are interested in someone, communicate your intentions to them.  As humans, we (both sexes), want to understand the causes and effects of our interpersonal relationships.  It is becoming more and more socially acceptable to simply allow ourselves to be ignored and to accept that and with time to let it go.  I think this stems from a fear of rejection, both of rejecting someone else or of  being the receiver of rejection.  Easier said than done, right?

Thoughts on the above? 

On a less serious note, here are some happenings from my week:
Beer on a Tuesday Night
Wine Down Wednesdays  
 Senior Class Ring Ceremony! Class of 2014
Eating like a true Louisiana girl, with the right reading material ;)
If you are one of my close friends, you may be receiving the post card below :)
I love whales.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Thoughts From My Porch...

I never thought I would get so attached to the state of Louisiana the last couple of months being here.  Today I felt so at home in my life here.  I started to think about the transition I will very likely be experiencing next fall.  The last transition in my life was here to Louisiana and it was the most difficult I have experienced yet.  Now, I feel so at home here, I feel attached to this place.  I feel protective of it, of its people, of its culture, of its education.  I never thought that I'd find myself saying how I would be interested in coming back to Louisiana one day to establish an organization and/or work for one that aligns with my professional values and life goals (what?!) Crazy, huh?

May of last year I remember how I didn't even look back as I left the state for Texas.  Texas is not on my mind these days.  As a loyal Texan, I do love my home state, but I'm pretty good with not going back there to live and establish myself for a good while.  May of this year, I am starting to have uneasy feelings about how I will handle leaving.  Many tears, many memories, it will surely be difficult.  I cannot say goodbye, it will be a see you later.

This evening, I contemplate my graduate school decision.  I have been honored to receive a very legitimate scholarship to WashU.  This scholarship is placing a heavy weight on my pro list and leaving University of Washington in Seattle a bit behind.  I am highly impressed with WashU's marketing, University of Washington simply seems to care about whether I send them a check with my deposit to secure my place.  I have received one measly letter from Seattle, nothing impressive, with an envelope to submit my deposit.  No welcome packet, no information about the school of social work, no post card, that's it.  Depressing, and not very convincing?  You are telling me this is a top program? SHOW ME! I am deceived.
On the bright side, I have completed my FAFSA (phew) and am awaiting to find out what the rest of my financial packages look like for both schools before making a final decision.  But, as of right now, St. Louie is lookin' pretty good.

Current favorite things:
- Sitting on my porch in the cool and warm evenings until the sun goes down
- Yoga
- Eating Grapefruits
- Afternoon coffee
- Country music

What's your vote for me, WashU or Seattle? Explain your answer and support with evidence. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Perseverance: We Never Give Up

I have one thing in mind right now: the school visit I attended.  One word: incredible.  It was an amazing visit.  Pretty sure my mouth was open a lot of the time from pure shock.  What is outstanding to me is that the students we teach, whether in rural Louisiana or an urban city like New Orleans are one and the same.  At the end of the day they are teenagers, some with different backgrounds than others, but overall eager to please and with a desire to feel successful.

Sci Academy is the name of the school.  It is a part of Collegiate Academies, a group of three charter schools that only serve students in 9-12 grades.  They run under the motto that proves it is never too late to learn.  I love this as a someone who believes in the closing of the achievement gap in our country with educational reform and better functioning schools led by better leaders.  

Collegiate Academies' CEO, Ben Marcovitz, a graduate of Harvard and Yale believes that students can achieve at any level.  The first cohort of students who went in as ninth graders had a percentage of 92% that were accepted to college at the time of graduation.  The school runs under a very positive environment, with core values that resonate through the walls of the school and through every classroom.  

"For decades, New Orleans failed its students. The year before Hurricane Katrina, 95 percent of the students fell below basic proficiency in English and math. The district was $300 million in debt, and corruption was so rife that the FBI set up a field office in its headquarters. The president of the Orleans Parish School Board has gone to prison on a bribery conviction, one of 24 school leaders to be indicted." (Source)

This school gives me hope for the future of education suffering in this nation.  I want there to be more schools like this.  I want my students to have the opportunity to achieve such as the students at schools like Sci Academy.  

This visit to this charter school has sparked something inside of me.  I want to spread schools like this to Avoyelles Parish and to other districts where students do not have the opportunity to succeed to their full capacity. 

Check out an amazing snippet of insight into what I saw on Monday


Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Corners of Your Mouth

Guess what?! One guess...

I feel so blessed, thankful, grateful, and truly humbled that the University of Washington in Seattle has accepted me to their MSW program.  I have neither accepted nor denied either offer.  Both schools are incredible, and I am in the middle of making pro/con lists.  St. Louis is looking pretty good right now, but ideally I would LOVE to live in Seattle.  I can't say the same about St. Louis because I've never been, but we'll see come April when I go visit.  

Friday I should know something about a possible scholarship to WashU in St. Louis, and hopefully I will be awarded something.  Keep your fingers crossed for me, send prayers/good vibes my way.

I am currently sitting in Brew Ha-Ha in Baton Rouge listening to an Open Mic night.  Tomorrow I don't have to go to work (YAY!).  Instead I am attending an excellent school visit in New Orleans.  I am excited to see what a well-functioning school looks like. A school that fully supports their staff and students, and a school structure that doesn't have the issues of most schools in our rural parishes.  I will miss my kids tomorrow, but who doesn't love a four day week, right?

Life is busy, busy, and full of things to do lately.  That's a good thing, most days...I keep toying with the idea of staying in Avoyelles next year, but deep down I know that's not where my heart is leading me.  I love the kids I teach to death, and if I continue my life elsewhere I am very excited to return next year for the graduating class of 2014.  Most of the kids I taught last year and this year are graduating next May.  I already have some asking me about coming back for their graduation.  The answer is, "ABSOLUTELY!"  I will shed tears of sadness and tears of joy.

Other updates:

- I went to my first crawfish boil this past Friday(!)
- I may or may not have met someone who is worth talking to and spending time with(!!)
- I will be spending some days in Austin the week before Easter! Let me know if you'd like to meet up, more than likely I'd love to see you ;)

Ain't it true...