Monday, December 30, 2013

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.84

( Freddie Peña )

diffident adj. [ˈdi-fə-dənt]: reserved, unassertive; hesitant in acting or speaking through lack of self-confidence (via)

After much coaxing by the teacher, she diffidently presented her speech in front of the class.

For the Love of a Linguaphile is a weekly series celebrating the snazzy words we encounter, from those found in great literary works, to those pesky words that keep popping up in everyday life. Hopefully you can incorporate a new word into your vocabulary, or even share one of your favorite words!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

link love

Things have finally calmed down around these parts from Christmas, but with New Year's right around the corner, I'm sure things will be slightly more chaotic again. The week between Christmas and New Year's is just bizarre - what are you supposed to do in that time? Catch up on a bunch of links, apparently...

♥ Dialects fascinate me, so I had to take this quiz that shows your personal dialect map as soon as I saw it. Pittsburgh was no.1 - who knew.
11 TED Talks Every 20 Something Should Watch (or, everyone, frankly)
♥ Brush up on your literary terms with these 10 figures of speech illustrated by Monty Python
Why you should major in English
♥ Japan declares an annual kanji of the year - I wonder what the "word" of the year would be here?
♥ Erin E. Flynn tackles building a portfolio when you don't have a ton of experience under your belt

What links are you loving this week?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Things I Love Thursday

What a week! I hope the holidays were good to you and you got to spend time with family and friends, doing things you love and being comfortable, cozy, and content.

I was going to write this Things I Love Thursday post like usual - some big things that made me stop and reflect this past week, along with the little moments that put a smile on my face - but then, I thought about how off I've felt lately. Not off in a bad way, per say, but the excitement of the holidays as well as the much needed time off have caught up with me and made me feel especially reflective in the last week before 2014.

It's time for some honesty. This past year has been full of new experiences, exciting adventures, and big decisions. Not all of them have been happy or pretty, but they've all been life-altering in some way or another. I am by no means writing this to be vague; some things have been hard to talk about, let alone on a blog, in a public space. I've always strived (strived? That sounds weird...) to be open and candid but frankly, there are some aspects of my personal life that a blog just isn't the venue for. Perhaps one day I can write about them in a way that's more than just a personal mental release (as important as those are), that's helpful to others. There are valuable lessons embedded in my stories from this past year that I one day hope to share, but now is not the time - there are too many personal feelings involved.

To those of you who have reached out over the past few months, I thank you for sharing your friendship, making me laugh, and helping me realize just what I've accomplished over the past twelve months. I'm borrowing a page from Kam (her newsletter, to be precise) -  I'm going to be BRAVE and pat myself on the back for all of the things I have accomplished this year:

  • Applied for a Blogcademy scholarship and won! 
  • Made an awesome network of blogger friends/Blogcademy babes
  • Visited New York City on my own
  • Met a blog friend in person
  • Ended my 5-year relationship
  • Found a big-girl hair dresser
  • Applied to some (real!) jobs
  • Walked a 5K
  • Started reading comic books
  • Cooked out on the grill
  • Graduated with a Masters degree
  • Haggled and bought my first car on my own
  • Taught 60+ amazing students

The mixture of events still has me reeling a bit. As I adjust to all of the changes, I'm both eager and focused, and feeling a little lost and empty. But you know what? I'm happy. Despite all of the hard decisions 2013 yielded, I'm content with where I am, even as I figure out just where it is I'm going. I may not have it all figured out - hell, I barely have it halfway figured out, but I'm so proud of how far I've come.

little loves
Christmas cards from dear new friends ♥ discovering my little sister is now as tall as I am ♥ snuggly kittens ♥ Christmas brunch ♥ bows ♥ Revlon Balm Stains (Romantic & Smitten, so far) ♥ glitter-less wrapping paper ♥ warm feet ♥ bonfire-scented candles ♥ crazy grilled cheese sandwiches at the Union Grill ♥ the ridiculous ease of an iPad mini ♥ seeing old friends from high school ♥ Cards Against Humanity ♥ coffee & cheesecake

What brave things have you accomplished this year?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holidays

Trying to type with semi-dry painted nails (a fab holiday red!) is a feat, but I'm putting the finishing touches on my holiday cheer - presents are wrapped, holiday sparkle donned, and hot drinks aplenty - and getting ready to spend the traditional Christmas Eve at my aunt's house with family and friends.

If you celebrate, a happy Christmas to you. And even if you don't, may you have a bright and shiny end to 2013.

Wishing you a very merry everything xo

Monday, December 23, 2013

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.83

As You Like It
( Kristin Antosz )

alacrity adj. [ə-ˈla-krə-tē]: prompt and cheerful readiness (via)

Having waited years to set foot on the stage, he performed the piece with alacrity, despite the nerves of being in front of such a large audience .

For the Love of a Linguaphile is a weekly series celebrating the snazzy words we encounter, from those found in great literary works, to those pesky words that keep popping up in everyday life. Hopefully you can incorporate a new word into your vocabulary, or even share one of your favorite words!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

link love

♥ My inner linguistics student is geeking out - English has a new preposition, because Internet. I love watching the evolution of language!
How You Can Change the World in 10 Seconds Flat - I try to keep this in mind all year long, but I make an extra effort around the holidays.
Vaguebooking is a terrible practice; make it stop.
Why wine and tea taste so good
♥ This private outdoor ice rink in Michigan is a dream come true
Invest in your own portfolio and become your best self
♥ Reflect on your reading habits and challenge yourself to read better in 2014
I want to be a millennial when I retire

What links are you loving this week?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Things I Love Thursday

How about I totally forgot yesterday was Thursday. I had actually been up at the crack of dawn to head out to the school I taught at to chaperone their field trip to see A Christmas Carol. The show was nicely done, especially for a cast of students (and so many, at that!) but the best part of the day, hands down, was getting to surprise my students. They had no idea I was coming, and seeing their faces of shock and surprise was pretty priceless :)

With the holidays just a few days away, I've been taking it easy this week (as evident by the fact that I have absolutely no idea what day it is) and just enjoying some much needed time off. As much as I'd like to think that I'm whittling away at my to-do list, I'm not too concerned with it for once.

♥ Last week was April and my annual Nutcracker date! Some people don't understand why we go see the same thing every year, but it's tradition and really kicks off the Christmas season for us both. It's a nice night out for the two of us, plus the songs get stuck in my head for days afterwards and I find myself twirling around the house.

♥ I don't think I've ever gone to the movies so much as I have the past few months. The one local theater plays classics once a week and all of the movies this month are Christmas classics, which makes for a nice night out.

♥ I was without a car for a few weeks, but now that I'm mobile again, I've got to say whew! In a town where not having a car isn't really an option (or at least, an extremely difficult option) it's amazing how thrown off everything gets when you're without one. It needs some work - the passenger door doesn't open from the inside, I forget there are no running boards and almost lost my step, and the interior lights don't come on when the doors open - but it'll do.

little loves
baking (and eating!) Christmas cookies ♥ I am officially a certified teacher in PA! ♥ finding the perfect LBD ♥ Batman colored sneakers ♥ Christmas Vacation ♥ an homage to the giant duck ♥ fresh flowers ♥ Christmas present exchanges with blogger friends ♥ the N*sync Christmas album ♥ starting ASOIAF book 5 ♥ decluttering - which feels so mentally nice ♥

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

sponsor love

The holidays are a hectic time, and it's thanks to these lovely ladies that My Life as a Teacup has been able to chug through the long (yet jam-packed!) December month!

Hi, I'm Ella! By day I work in a high school special education classroom, and by night I craft and blog! I'm an avid list-maker with a constant travel bug, who believes washi tape is the only kind of tape one should use, turns almost everything into a craft project, and has an affinity for anything sea foam green. Paper Umbrella is where I share DIY projects, fashion and design inspiration, my favorite music, recipes (I especially love creating new cocktails), lots of photos, and anything else that inspires me.

What's one item on your wishlist this holiday season?
Recently, I've been trying to improve my photography and learn more about my DSLR - I even started a feature on my blog to encourage myself to keep learning more. I told myself that if I actually committed to improving my photography and taking more pictures I could ask for a new lens - I really want a 50mm f/1.8 lens. So that's what I'm hoping to find under the tree come Christmas day :)

What goal do you want to accomplish in 2014?
Each year I usually have way too many goals...this year I'm going to try and narrow it down to something do-able. Number one on my list is to improve my time management skills (and a goal that goes along with that is finishing all of my grad school applications and getting into a program I love!).

As the work-at-home, home-schooling, mother of three I found out that most years were passing by with me feeling like we didn't get everything 'done' before the seasons changed. So last year we started making 'seasonal bucket lists' as a family. A Time For Seasons is the records of our adventures, crafts, DIYs, seasonal recipes and more.

Use the code TEACUP for 25% off any sponsor spot at A Time For Seasons!

What's one item on your wishlist this holiday season?
Glade Cinnamon Apple 4 oz jar candles. I know it's so simple and specific, but I literally burn about 3 a week and LOVE them!

What goal do you want to accomplish in 2014?
What goal do you want to accomplish in 2014? To learn to play the Violin, I've always wanted to play. I'm going to try my hand at it. 30 is not to old to learn ;)

Allie Trumpower of Alexandra Rae Design and Document Life Workshop works in marketing by day, but by night is a crafty designer, a photographer, and a memory keeper. She loves list making, great design, memory keeping, pinterest, twitter, and instagram– and loves meeting new people via social media! Follow along with her memory keeping, lists, craft projects, and every day life on twitter and instgram at @abandy.

Use the code teacup for 20% off items in Alexandra Rae's shop!

What's one item on your wishlist this holiday season?
I really want to get better at handlettering and improve my handwriting... so I asked for a calligraphy set! I'm looking forward to incorporating it into my crafting and just making letters, etc, look nicer! Oh, and I asked for a Filofax, but I can't seem to find one that I like that is ever in stock! :(

What goal do you want to accomplish in 2014?
I would really like to be more organized and intentional with my time. I wasn't happy with how I used my time in 2013, and I'm hoping to improve that in 2014... and I'm hoping a new Filofax might help with that!!

I run literary lifestyle blog Ten Penny Dreams, which is all about books, writing, inspiration and life in the North East of England. I love to talk about my favourite reads, my thoughts on life and my dreams of becoming a writer. You'll find book reviews alongside writing tips, discussion pieces and general ramblings, along with as many photos of the North East as I can manage to share.

What's one item on your wishlist this holiday season?
We’re going to Iceland in a couple of months, so I’d like a tripod for my camera so I can (hopefully) take some photos of the Northern Lights.

What goal do you want to accomplish in 2014?
I’ve been talking about self-publishing my novel for ages now and I need to knuckle down and make it happen in 2014. I’m terrible for putting things off when I’m nervous about them!

Many thanks to these lovely ladies for partnering with the Teacup this month. Interested in sponsoring My Life as a Teacup? I'd love to have you!

What one goal are you hoping to accomplish in the new year?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Spread Some Holiday Cheer: The 12 Days of Love Letter Writing

From December 9-20th, More Love Letters is embarking on their annual holiday 12 Days of Love Letter Writing campaign to spread love and holiday cheer to those in need. A love letter doesn't need to be a romantic gushing of your undying love for someone, or even need to be beautifully articulate. Sometimes all it takes are some words of encouragement, a moment to pause and say "You are worth it". A simple handwritten of letter can change someone's world.

I'm not the world's best letter writer, nor am I wonderful at expressing sentiment, but today I'm writing a letter for Emma, and I'd love it if you joined me in writing a letter of love and encouragement to her as well!
12 Days of More Love Letter Writing
Bundle Recipient: Emma

Emma’s mother wrote us this request and now we are passing it along to you amazing people! She writes: “Emma is traveling through the teenage years and is finding herself struggling with the usual suspects of acceptance, body image, relationships, parents, siblings, and school success. After an amazing first year of high school, Emma is finding herself floundering and her usual coping mechanisms are not working, so she has engaged in some less positive coping mechanisms. Emma is a dedicated competitive swimmer and an awesome volunteer swim coach to young swimmers. Emma loves music. She is a writer with two NaNoWriMo novels under her young belt. She needs to know how important she is to her family, her friends, and her swimmers. She needs to know these trials of the teenage years are not permanent and she will make it through. She needs love.” Pick up your favorite stationary and script out a letter for Emma!
12 Days of More Love Letter Writing
I know how trying a time high school can be, and I can't possibly send more love and courage Emma's way. I hope you'll join me in sending love and inspiration to Emma!

How can you spread some holiday cheer?

1. Grab a pen, stationary, and a mug of hot cocoa and start writing!

2. Seal your letter with a kiss and warm wishes and send it (by December 20th) to the following address:

Please send all love letters to:
Emma's bundle
c/o Laura A.
2217 Dufferin Road
Regina, SK S4S 5B5

3. Sign up to get the 12 Days of Love Letter requests delivered straight to your inbox to spread more cheer!

I'm still amazed at how much of an impact a handwritten letter can make and wish Emma nothing but magic and love.

Follow #12DaysMLL on Twitter to be inspired and see how other bloggers are spreading the holiday goodness.

Monday, December 16, 2013

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.82

( Olly Coffey )

tenebrous adj. [te-nə-brəs]: dark, murky, obscure (via)

She could barely make out the glint of the lost earring beneath the ripples of the tenebrous lake.

For the Love of a Linguaphile is a weekly series celebrating the snazzy words we encounter, from those found in great literary works, to those pesky words that keep popping up in everyday life. Hopefully you can incorporate a new word into your vocabulary, or even share one of your favorite words!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

link love

Please Help Me, Beyoncé (wisdom from the goddess herself)
♥ It's baaaack! The 2013 Hater's Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalog
♥ The Gorgeous Nothings is a new literary endeavor to reproduce Emily Dickinson's 52 "envelope poems" while appreciating the dimensionality of her works. I dig.
♥ The holidays are always hectic, but Kyla Roma asks Splurge vs. Save: Where Are You Putting Your Energy This December?
3 Reasons to Have an Editorial Calendar (I use one for all of my blogging and it makes life so much easier!)
It's Okay If You Don't Love Yourself
♥ My Dad and I discuss these 10 Common Sayings You're Probably Saying Wrong on a regular basis. How frequently we hear them is almost embarrassing
The (beautiful) physics of adding cream to your coffee. Who knew drinking coffee could be so aesthetically pleasing while keeping your coffee hot longer!
♥ Still finishing up your holiday shopping? Lemon & Raspberry's Resources for Writers Gift Guide has you covered
Where do great ideas come from? Neil Gaiman explains.
♥ No Girls Allowed: Unraveling the story behind the stereotype of video games being for boys
11 Awkward Things About Email. A thousand times yes.
♥ These stereotypes about book lovers are absolutely true, and that's a good thing. I absolutely budget room in my luggage for reading materials.

What links are you loving this week?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Minted Holiday Collection 2013

pine and berries
After decorating the Christmas tree this past weekend, it's finally beginning to sink in that the holidays are right around the corner. Like, right around the corner. Sure, I've been hearing a fair amount of Christmas songs on the radio and the holiday movie nights at the local cinema have served as a warm reminder of the season upon us, but I don't really think the holiday spirit sets in until the decorations start popping up around the house.

For as much as the holiday spirit has struck me, however, my sending-out-Christmas-cards ability isn't the keenest. I still haven't mailed mine yet! Finding a card that is glitter-free (I hate opening an envelope to find a glitter bomb of a card that explodes all over the place! A little glitter, fine, copious amounts, not so much) is another daunting aspect. Which might explain why I've been sifting through Minted looking for a classy - glitter-free - holiday card to send to friends and family.

Minted's 2013 Holiday collection has pages upon pages of timeless, graphic cards that I could easily envision dotting my walls this Christmas. I've picked out some of my favorite designs, just in case you're still on the hunt for that perfect holiday card too!

hand-painted branches | name in brights
I've ordered journals and announcements from Minted as gifts in the past, and have always been impressed at the quality and how unique the designs are. While I don't know if my family and friends would appreciate a Christmas card with just my face on it, the designs are so much fun that I can't help but drool over them!

currant & juniper 
Have you sent out holiday cards yet? Any designs from the Minted Holiday 2013 collection strike your fancy?

This post is in collaboration with Minted. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Things I Love Thursday

I almost haven't known what to do with myself for the past few days. Almost. There are piles in the office to sort through, projects to finish, emails to respond to - somewhere in the past four months I accumulated so many projects in various states of completion, and though it feels good to get things sorted out, it feels bizarre to not be waking up at 5am, getting ready, and jetting off to teach. As excited as I am to graduate, it truly is bittersweet. But the shining moments far outweigh the bad...

♥ I was so blessed throughout my student teaching to have a wonderful woman as a cooperating teacher. She calmed my nerves, guided me, laughed with me; I couldn't imagine having a more amazing mentor and now, a friend

 ♥ My students were absolutely incredible. Having to assume responsibility for a room full of 12 year olds is daunting to anyone, I'm sure. I walked in on the first day not sure if they would even listen to me, let alone respond to me, and now I am so sad to leave them. To talk with them, hear their ideas, listen to what's going on in their lives...they are some really amazing people.

I still feel a little scattered and need a few days to get back into the swing of...something. The holidays aren't helping, as nothing really feels back to "normal", and I've got a lot of thoughts racing through my head in general. Looking back at 2013 is imminent, now that December is almost over, and so much has happened that I really feel like I do owe you some explanation of this crazy journey so far.

little loves
when people spell your name right on the first try ♥ White Christmas ♥ cozy oversized sweaters ♥ heated seats (toasty!) ♥ peppermint bark is baaaack! ♥ Mandy just introduced me to DJ Earworm's yearly United State of Pop mashups and I'm kind of addicted ♥ I didn't like Pitbull & Ke$ha's "Timber" the first time I heard it, but now I'm obsessed with its catchiness ♥ the way scents linger on pillows and clothing ♥ Guinness milkshakes ♥ applying to jobs! ♥ dinner and laughs with lovely ladies ♥ peppermint candles ♥ the More Love Letters project

What is making you smile this week?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Most Precious Gift for Christmas + a recipe for Lemon & Cranberry Scones

Carol of The Love of Tea appreciates all things tea and the joy a nice cuppa can bring into your life (not just the literal warm feeling!), especially at Christmastime. Today's she's sharing her favorite scone recipe that you can jazz up with any flavorings you'd like, though Lemon & Cranberry sounds like a dream!

Last Christmas one of my friends gave me this modern teacup and saucer and it is not just a drinking utensil. Everyday I have my cup of tea and take time to reflect on my day.

Living in this techno world of the 21st century it is hard to imagine what life was before the computer and cell phones. Life is so busy. It seems with more technology there is less human interaction. I am always surprised when I hear a live person at the other end of a phone call.

As Christmas approaches I pondered on what is the best gift someone can give. After three phone calls and three answering machines, I decided that the best gift is time, time to share and to listen to someone. How special is that? You cannot put a price on it. And we all have a limited amount of it. Perhaps, that is why traditions such as afternoon tea are making a comeback.

Over the holidays, why not share the most precious thing you’ve got? Time. Arrange a gathering for one or several people with tea and scones. Let the natural flow of conversation take over instead of texting or emailing. Rediscover the art of conversation.

The best part is that you find out that it is also the best present for yourself.

Here is my basic scone recipe from my afternoon tea book. I want to share for the special tea to converse over and share with friends:

Scones Love-love-love
4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup butter (I like to use butter as it gives it more flavour)
11 oz 2% milk (keep some back and test after stirring if right consistency)

Pre-heat oven 425 degrees F

1 Rub together butter, flour, sugar, baking powder & salt.
2 Add milk & mix lightly- overworking will toughen gluten.
3 Roll out onto floured board, cut with cutter. Brush lightly with milk and sprinkle sugar on top (optional).
4 Bake 425 degrees F for approximately 17 mins. Watch carefully.

Makes 18 scones, good size 2 1/2” diameter

For the holidays try Lemon & Cranberry - grate zest of one lemon stir in mixture and add 1/2 dried cranberries with 1 tsp flour. Combine after milk mixture.

Serve with fresh whipped cream, or butter and jam. A black tea such as English Breakfast or Earl Grey tea is a perfect compliment.

Monday, December 9, 2013

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.81

Piano keyboard
( Darren Leno )

dulcet adj. [ˈdəl-sət]: sweet or pleasing (via)

The dulcet tones of the piano enchanted everyone in the room.

For the Love of a Linguaphile is a weekly series celebrating the snazzy words we encounter, from those found in great literary works, to those pesky words that keep popping up in everyday life. Hopefully you can incorporate a new word into your vocabulary, or even share one of your favorite words!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

link love

♥ Remember this: You are good enough.
11 Reasons It's So Difficult to Leave the House and Be Responsible and Stuff - TRUTH!
♥ The hit on Brooks Orpik by Thornton in last night's Pens/Bruins game couldn't be more troubling. It's time Gary Bettman took a stand on dirty hits in the game of hockey.
♥ A collection of 2014 planners for your perusal
♥ I've always been curious as to how Pantone picks its color of the year
5 Reasons Why Winter is the Best Time to Get Creative
♥ Avoid self-induced anxiety by trash talking important work
Are introverts actually the best leaders?
10 Under $10: Always-Appreciated Practical Stocking Stuffers (I love me a good stocking stuffer!)
♥ The Blogcademy blues are real! 1 Month Since the Blogcademy: What I Learnt and What They Don't Tell You
♥ The Period is Pissed: When did our plainest punctuation mark become so aggressive?
♥ This Flooded Sky's look at Chinese dating culture is such an eye-opener
♥ 10 Ways to Get Over Blogger's Block
♥ A Jane Austen MMO where your traits are status and reputation with scandals galore?
♥ Ella of Paper Umbrellas talks photography basics with her new feature, Photo Fridays. First up: The Basics of Manual Mode
We need to be best friends.
♥ With The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug coming to theaters soon, it's time we take a look at the dragon as a character and why Smaug wtill matters
Thoughts on Being the Quietest Person at the Party
♥ Noah Webster was a man on a mission to simplify American spellings, but here are 26 of Noah Webster's Spelling Changes That Didn't Catch On
♥ I find morning routines around the world to be fascinating and Yes & Yes feature this week - Mornings in Poland - was just that!

What links are you loving this week?