April 29, 2014

Teachers Change Lives

I've got several friends who are teachers and I am incredibly proud of them.  Teachers change lives.  It's true.  I bet each one of you out there has fond memories of at least one teacher who has impacted your life in a positive way. 



I was fortunate enough to have a few teachers who've made lasting memories for me.  One teacher that stands out is my middle school science teacher, Mrs. Rosa.  She had a certain way to speaking to us; she talked to us not as children, but as peers.  I'd never experienced that before.  She was quirky and full of energy.  She had a pet peeve for people who started a sentence with "And" or "But" so it was an actual rule in class that you'd lose points if you did those things on any graded report.

Aside from Mrs. Rosa wanting to impart proper grammar in our lives, she tried her hardest to make science fun.  There were no assignments of definitions, no readings of long chapters that you'd barely remember.  No, Mrs. Rosa brought science to life.  We got to create 'science art', as she called it.  Our assignments were innovative things like drawing the anatomy of a nucleus, making mini ecosystems and discovering the beauty of life. 

In a roundabout way, she taught us responsibility.  We had a class pet, a hamster named Miss Gussy.  We were responsible for making sure that hamster lived in style!  Every need was attended to.  We also got to assist in the hatching of baby chicks.  We each had an egg that we had to make sure was properly taken care of up until the moment of birth.  The sight of a little baby chick popping out of an egg is not one I will soon forget.  Mrs. Rosa paid for those chicks out of her own pocket so we could have something of our own to take care of, to be responsible for.  Being a child at that time, I didn't grasp the significance of an act like that.  Recalling the memories as an adult makes me realize how much she really did for us, so many things above and beyond the requirements of a teacher. 

I'd thank her if I saw her today.  People don't realize that a teacher's job doesn't end when the kids go home.  There's lessons to plan, papers to grade, projects to come up with....and most likely a lot more that I don't even know about. 

I think it's important to give back to those who helped you along the way.  Adopt-A-Classroom is a nonprofit organization that helps connect donors with teachers to enhance the learning environment for students.  Office Depot and Adopt-A-Classroom have partnered to raise awareness about teachers, and all that they do in the lives of their students.  You can go to the Teachers Change Lives website and donate to a teacher or even adopt a classroom.  You can donate to the teacher highlighted in the video below or even to a teacher in your local community! 

Take a teacher like Chris Emdin for example.  Chris is a science teacher in the Bronx who incorporates the hip hop culture into his classroom material which helps students see science in a different way.  By teaching science, Chris gives his students new possibilities for life, and something to look forward to. #TeachersChangeLives


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

April 24, 2014

Things I Love: Day Five (#THATFRIDAYBLOGHOP)


Happy hopping everyone! Thanks for joining us again for That Friday Blog Hop which goes live every Thursday evening at 8pm EST. So join us each week & link up your blogs, social media outlets, or anything you'd love to share. 
   


That Friday Blog Hop: Join Us Every Thursday Evening

While there are no rules, we would love it if you would :::
- Stop by the hosts & co-hosts blog and follow along
- Say hi to new bloggers and leave a wonderful comment
- Grab the button and/or tweet about the blog hop as well
- Come back every Thursday evening to join in the party
- If you are interested in being a co-host for an upcoming week, send an email here
That Friday Blog Hop

Things I Love Week: Day Four


♥All 116 outfits from the movie Clueless ranked from worst to best.  I seriously just love this but man...someone had a lot of time on their hands!

I'm not saying that I wouldn't totally wear these outfits right the hell now if I could get away with it.  Because I totally would.


♥This haunted house snaps photos at the exact moment of super scary-ness and the result is wheeze-laughingly hilarious!

♥So a family in England somehow created four different trees wherein each tree has up to six different fruits, all on the same tree.  They call them Fruit Salad Trees...and I really want to get one!

♥The Beyonce "Soundboardt" had me cackling.  For real...cackling.

♥Of course ya'll know about how much I love New Orleans.  Here's a really great tour to take if you're an American Horror Story: Coven fan (like me)!

♥This lady's article about how she ate nothing but Jackie Kennedy Onassis's strict diet foods makes me smirk because of how well, strict & unappealing it was!  I will never understand why people deny themselves the enjoyment of food.

♥These Instagram photos of dudes who are just plain miserable while their wives/girlfriends are shopping is just plain hilarious.

April 23, 2014

Things I Love Week: Day Three

♥Tina Fey reminds us why it's okay to be a bitch.  Emma (Emily, apparently.) Stone sings it out for us too! 



♥This visual list of band riders is especially hilarious.  What in the world are some of these people thinking?! (No brown M&M's, dammit!)

♥Bored?  Check out this Wiki of unexplained disappearances.  Next thing you know hours will have passed (like when you're on Pinterest).


♥Some of these food hacks are really quite inventive! 

♥This article about how the blogging world has changed is very insightful but it makes me kind of sad but I loved reading it.

♥Martha Stewart's food tweets are just gross, you guys.

April 22, 2014

Things I Love Week: Day Two

♥The 8-Bit Cinema version of Anchorman really makes me want to play video games.



♥In case you're having a bad day, head to Emergency Compliment and click until you feel better.

♥In case Emergency Compliment doesn't work, try Heal Yourself, Skeletor.  I couldn't help but smile.

♥Aside from the new Cookie Dough Oreo's tasting really gross, it turns out that they are, actually, well....gross.  (I really like that someone called them out on this.)

♥NYMag's interesting take on why we have such nostalgia for teen movies.

♥Speaking of nostalgia, did you know that the impulses & feeling you have when listening to a favorite song are a result of music-evoked frisson?


April 21, 2014

Things I Love Week: Day One

I've been largely absent this month due to work and personal commitments but don't think that my blog (& the readers of it) haven't been on my mind.  For a while now, I've been collecting posts, videos, photos, etc. of things I enjoyed so that I can share them with you.  I realized yesterday that the list had grown quite long; so long, in fact, that I'm going to spread it out through this week so you can take time to visit each link, watch each video, savor each photo...basically, so as not to overwhelm but to simply entertain.  Here we go.

♥The Lip-Sync Battle between Jimmy Fallon & Paul Rudd.  Seriously, you guys, Paul Rudd can do no wrong in my eyes.  He's just fantastic.  


♥You can write your future self emails via a website called FutureMe.  If you are worried about forgetting something, or want to give your future self some advice or insight, this is a really cool way to do so.

♥I'm pretty sure that if I ever had to spend time with Shailene Woodley, my eyes would quit on me for all the eye rolling I'd be doing.

♥Apple has an App Store section for people who are obsessed with selfies (or themselves).  Just...wow.


April 17, 2014

#THATFRIDAYBLOGHOP


Happy hopping everyone! Thanks for joining us again for That Friday Blog Hop which goes live every Thursday evening at 8pm EST. So join us each week & link up your blogs, social media outlets, or anything you'd love to share. 
   


That Friday Blog Hop: Join Us Every Thursday Evening

While there are no rules, we would love it if you would :::
- Stop by the hosts & co-hosts blog and follow along
- Say hi to new bloggers and leave a wonderful comment
- Grab the button and/or tweet about the blog hop as well
- Come back every Thursday evening to join in the party
- If you are interested in being a co-host for an upcoming week, send an email here
That Friday Blog Hop

April 14, 2014

How to Protect Yourself From the 'Heartbleed' Bug

Recently, a major security vulnerability named "Heartbleed" has made headlines around the world.  This is a severe vulnerability stemming from a coding mistake in a widely-used security utility called OpenSSL.  The bug affects the encryption technology designed to protect your sensitive data on the Internet, like usernames, passwords and emails (oh my!).

 (Original, unaltered version of this image via Mashable)

Why is this a big deal?

The Heartbleed bug allows potential attackers to sidestep the cryptographic security that normally protects Web communications on sites that use an open-source version called OpenSSL. In essence, the bug allowed attackers to grab random bits of information from Web servers --- information that could include usernames and passwords, the cryptographic "keys" that shield traffic from prying eyes, or even the coded "certificates" that websites use to verify that they are who they say they are. In the worst case, exposure of that information could allow attackers to read all traffic to and from a given site, or even to impersonate the site itself!

Since the flaw is in the OpenSSL encryption code, it's not actually a virus.  But because this vulnerability takes advantage of servers as opposed to devices like a virus does, the best plan for businesses is to update to the latest version of OpenSSL to address the dangers posed.

The severity of the Heartbleed vulnerability cannot be overstated --- this is a big deal.  Several major enterprises (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest...just to name a few) use OpenSSL and are likely affected by this vulnerability as well. The dangers posed by this vulnerability are very real and could affect you if exploited.  Things that you stored on these supposed 'secure servers' can potentially accessed until this bleed is fixed.  That means passwords, credit card info., personal information, etc.  Studies show that over a half million widely trusted websites have the potential to be affected.



What do I do to fix it?
  • Mashable has created a Heartbleed Hit List on potential pages that you might need to update your security & passwords on.  This list is frequently updated & can tell you which websites are vulnerable and which have been patched.  c|net also has a comprehensive list of the websites that have been patched.  Once a site is no longer vulnerable, it's time to change your password.  You can also use this tool or this tool to help you identify is a site you visit regularly has been affected.
  • The obvious thing to to is change your password.  However, you should only change your password after the afflicted business has fixed its servers & removed the Heartbleed vulnerability.  (Changing your password on a particular site only gives you more protection if that site has already applied to the Heartbleed patch and resolved its vulnerability. If it hasn’t, changing your password in advance could theoretically put you at greater risk. Heartbleed is a vulnerability in a server's memory (RAM), not its data storage, so a hacker has access to things that are being called up by the server not everything that's stored on it. That means that the hacker could ascertain your new password, too.)
  • You could start using a password manager.  You have to decide for yourself if it's worth it, though.  You don't need to remember your passwords, because they're all stored and protected behind one master password that you need to make extremely unguessable.  A warning, though; setup is quite tedious.  Oh, and if you're using someone else's computer, you have to use a an app to check your password for any site/service you want to log into.  Having a password manager isn't a fun time, but protecting yourself from much more annoying, potentially detrimental, problems down the line if your personal information gets hijacked may make it worth the trouble.  Some sites for password management are KeePass, LastPass1Password, Roboform, Dashlane, SplashID & mSecure.


April 10, 2014

#THATFRIDAYBLOGHOP


Happy hopping everyone! Thanks for joining us again for That Friday Blog Hop which goes live every Thursday evening at 8pm EST. So join us each week & link up your blogs, social media outlets, or anything you'd love to share. 
   


Link up and enter to win a super cute bracelet from Jayla Jolie Jewelry, this would be a great gift for a little princesses Easter basket!

Jayla Jolie Jewelry is an Etsy shop owed by one of your host Ce Ce.

The Bracelet: 

Glass Pearl Personalized Crystal Bracelet (little girls)

 Sizes can be custom made from 4.75 to 6.00 inches.

Personalize the bracelet with any name you want!

This giveaway is open to U.S. Residents only.


The Rules: Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on 4/14/14 11:59 PM.1 winners will be chosen at random using rafflecopter.com on 4/15/14 and will be contacted via email. Winner will have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. A Chicago Mom or Jayla Jolie Jewelry is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Void where prohibited.

That Friday Blog Hop: Join Us Every Thursday Evening

While there are no rules, we would love it if you would :::
- Stop by the hosts & co-hosts blog and follow along
- Say hi to new bloggers and leave a wonderful comment
- Grab the button and/or tweet about the blog hop as well
- Come back every Thursday evening to join in the party
- If you are interested in being a co-host for an upcoming week, send an email here
That Friday Blog Hop

Buy One Get One Free @ JustFab!

I loves me some shoes.  I loves me some shoes even more when they're on sale.  Especially if I get one free!  Well, believe you me, I'm headed to JustFab to get some cute Spring/Summer shoes.  It's all buy one get one free!  Sandals, wedges, flats...even boots, booties & pumps!  Oh, I've died and gone to shoe heaven!  Click the pic below to get shopping!


April 9, 2014

Song Crack

There are songs that I can't get enough of.  Songs I could listen to over and over and over (and so on) without ever getting burned out.  The songs that you won't hear on the radio because they've been out for a long time.  Songs that a lot of people may not know or, adversely, think you're nuts for loving.



Annie Lennox - No More I Love You's
This is my weirdo song.  It's exceptionally weird/strange, and believe, me the video is stranger....but it's great for having one of those emotional hand-flinging Mariah Carey moments when you're trying to sing along.  (Nicki Minaj sampled this song for her song "Your Love".  She understands weird.)



Paula Abdul - Promise Of A New Day
I still remember being a kid and 'choreographing' dances to this song in the play room.  It's definitely on my iTunes & I'm not ashamed to admit it!




Dave Matthews Band - The Last Stop (Live In Chicago Version)
Completely different from the album version, this song is incredible!  Not only can you tell that the band loves playing this song but that Dave loves singing it.  It's beautiful.



No Doubt - New
This song makes my heart race.  I feel like I'm in the middle of an epic event that I don't want to end.  This feeling has got to stay.




Save Ferris - Come On Eileen
If this song doesn't make you want to be a mid-nineties Ska singer, then there's no hope for you.  I belt this mother out in the car, making my "big voice face" and everything.



Fleetwod Mac - Rhiannon
This song reminds me of a rainy day.  It's so mellow and haunting.  One of the best Fleetwood Mac songs in my opinion. 



Boyz II Men - On Bended Knee
If this song doesn't make you want to close your eyes & ball your fists up close to your chest while belting the woulds out intensely as possible, then there's something wrong with you.




Before I get carried away, I should probably cut myself off!  This is should probably be one of those "to be continued posts", otherwise we'll be here all day! 

What are YOUR "song crack" songs?

No need to put on a show.


I find it funny that people are shocked, shocked I tell you(!), that I am a wee bit over 30 and *gasp* not married.

I can say with all honestly that I am completely happy with that.  I look at the photos of my friends who post pictures of their insanely cute babies and I think about what it would be like to have one.  Then the reality reminder sets in where I realize that I can still sleep late, stay out late, go where I want to and even have a mimosa with breakfast & nobody can tell me otherwise.

I refuse to spend my life obsessing about not having what I think I should have.   I refuse to do something based on what others think is the "right thing to do".  By (this time) in your life, you should be married with two kids and own your own house and blah blah blah...
I don't fit into that mold. 
Right now, that is not my definition of happiness. 

There's no reason for me to be unhappy with the point I'm at in my life.  My life may not be like yours, or yours, or yours, but please remember that we are all vastly different people, each unique in some way.  Why should we be forced to conform to something because "it's just what people do"?

Love who you are now.  Have your dreams and wishes.  Just don't miss out on all the goodness in the present for your life of the future.



April 8, 2014

Back It Up...




Do any of you ever feel just...blah?  I don't know what's wrong with me.  I don't have any energy or motivation right now.  I'd love to hear from you guys on tips on how to break out of this funk.  It's just not fun.

Anyway, here's a little recap of what you may have missed on the blog in the last few weeks. 

  • Learning about maca root from Hesson Haus & getting a little home tour from Leslyn's Lovely Life.
  • The March 27th & April 3rd hosts of the #ThatFridayBlogHop.  If your blog would like to host, just email me!
  • I also shared my recipe for Pear, Cranberry & Clementine water.

April 3, 2014

#THATFRIDAYBLOGHOP


Happy hopping everyone! Thanks for joining us again for That Friday Blog Hop which goes live every Thursday evening at 8pm EST. So join us each week & link up your blogs, social media outlets, or anything you'd love to share. 
   


That Friday Blog Hop: Join Us Every Thursday Evening

While there are no rules, we would love it if you would :::
- Stop by the hosts & co-hosts blog and follow along
- Say hi to new bloggers and leave a wonderful comment
- Grab the button and/or tweet about the blog hop as well
- Come back every Thursday evening to join in the party
- If you are interested in being a co-host for an upcoming week, send an email here
That Friday Blog Hop