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Fall Favorites!


Was my house decorated for fall by the end of the day September 1st? Yes.  Do I care about being judged? Um, no!  I'm too busy being surrounded by cute pumpkins to care!  :) 

Here are some of my favorite fall pieces for this season!  I limit myself to just a few purchases each year because otherwise, I would buy out all of Target and Hobby Lobby... 


These velvet pumpkins are from one of my favorite home decor stores, Kirklands!  I love that there is always a coupon to use, and there is always a same going on!  These were half off IN SEASON last year and are available again this year!  Click here to buy! 




These burlap pumpkins are from THE DOLLAR STORE! I saw them and had to scoop them up.  In fact, most of my decor was from the dollar store this year.  I was so pleasantly surprised to find some very trendy and good quality things to decorate will this fall season! 




My glitter pumpkins are another dollar store find :) 



This candycorn hat was a gift from my friend who corchets amazing things!  I sent her a picture I found on pinterst, and this beauty arrived at my doorstep a few days later!  Check out her work on her Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/livelybysamira/


 

I was at Target looking for a new dress for a first date  ( wish me luck!) and saw this bandana in the dollar section that I needed for my pup!  He is all ready for Halloween!  He has this to wear AND an amazing Haunted Mansion themed collar from shop disney that can be found here.








Finally, this was my big splurge for the season, and it wasn't even that much... I try to always buy decor that would work for both Halloween and Thanksgiving so that I can keep it up for longer, and can save some cash when decorating.  However, this Halloween decor was too amazing to pass up!  If you are dinsey fan, you totally get why I NEEDED it!  Plus, when I can finally go back to working with my students in person, this desk plaque will be a permanent resident on my desk and will let my kiddos know who they are dealing with! ;)    I ADORE my Foolish Morals Desk Nameplate





What are some of your favorite places to shop for fall finds?  Share your ideas with me in the comments below! 

P.S some of these links are affilite links and I may earn from your clicks! 💕


I Tried The 5 Day ProLonFMD Fast And Here Is How It Really Went







I was recently diagnosed with PCOS and elevated A1C as well as elevated Glucose levels. This was something that I desperately wanted to change (as well as lose weight, duh!). 

Overall, for me, it’s really about getting away from the precipice of diabetes that motivates me to try prolonfmd. This isn’t a sponsored post, and I did NOT get it for free. I paid the whopping $225 for 5 days of food that fits in 5 teeny tiny boxes.  I was inspired to write this because of course, I looked for blog posts on how other people handled this crazy fast! And you know what? Those posts were annoyingly positive and pretty much all rainbows and butterflies. But that’s not how I felt all the time on this fast! 


The supposed benefits of Prolon are:


- reduction in visceral fat (fat surrounding your internal organs, super bad for you)
- resetting of blood sugar and lowering of cholesterol
- feeling energized
- autophagy   ( your good cells start to eat up all the dead and bad ones in you!) 


Now, I had already made some significant changes to my diet in the two months before I did my fast.    I cut out gluten and dairy (good bye pizza 😭) and I really lowered my sugar intake.  I pretty much only had dark chocolate as my dessert for two months. However, I will admit to getting ice cream with all the fixings the day before the fast.  A girl has got to live!
What I’m saying, is that I had already done some of the mental work of dealing with cravings before I went into this 5 day experience. I also think that 5 days is a pretty reasonable amount of time to give up foods you like and be able to wrap your brain around it!  That is what I decided to try this program over other programs to work on fixing my blood sugar issues.  

So, what did I experience on the fast??? I’m going to try to break it down day by day.



The free book included in your order about the science behind this, and how to make this a way of life


Day 1

No weight loss- It was the first day. 
What is there to eat? 
- 5 kale crackers 
-Tomato soup
-minestrone  soup
- two nut-based L-bars
-1 coco crispy snack 
- LOTS of tea! 
- some supplement pills 

Day one was hard.  All I could think about was that this was not a lot of food, and also all I wanted to eat was anything that wasn't in the day one box.   However, looking back and typing out all of what I ate day one, I am currently thinking, " wow that was a lot of food!"   One major change I have experienced on this fast is that my relationship with food changed, and I need a lot less to feel full.  Mental hunger vs. physical hunger. 

Another big piece of this fast is that you can drink as much herbal tea and water as you want. So I was basically running to the restroom every half hour.  This was do-able for me since I have been working from home, and I had a pretty flexible work schedule.  If I was doing this fast as a full-time teacher in a classroom, there is NO WAY I could have handled not getting a potty break! 

At the end of the day on day one, I was exhausted and had a huge caffeine headache.  That is another thing to consider, no caffeine on this fast! I literally fell sound asleep at 7pm at night and woke up the next morning at  8:30 am.  I felt well-rested and not hungry in the morning. I was expecting ravishing hunger to overtake me, but that was not the case! 

The minestrone soup


Day 2 
Weight Loss: Two pounds! 
What is there to eat? 
- 1 L-bar
-mushroom soup 
- olives 
-minestrone and quinoa soup
-L-bar choco crisp
-L-drink 

This day was also hard for me.  I HATED the olives, so I did not eat them.  In fact, I tried one and spit it right out.  I was not desperate enough to eat the package of olives, but I was missing being able to eat more food. 

The mushroom soup was good but not as good as the tomato soup.  The quinoa soup was horrible! I did not like it.  But my mom, who did this with me, liked it! So I guess it's really about personal taste.  (She also liked the olives so the elevation of her palate is debatable... :) ).  

I was annoyed and angry on day two.  This stems from my own issues with food and restrictions, but I was not a happy camper.  I took a nap mid-day to stop myself from obsessing about eating.   My mom and I also had cleaned out our fridge and pantry before this fast so that we would not be tempted to cheat.  I highly suggest doing this with someone who will hold you accountable. 

Now, I might have been extra hungry because I did not eat the olives, but I wasn't so hungry that I broke the fast.  This day was all about mind over matter.  This is a very real thing, dealing with head hunger versus tummy hunger, and I struggled today.  I also had a very bad headache.  I think this was more caffeine withdrawal.  It also could have been the start of the "keto flu" as the goals of day 2 and 3 of this fast is to get your body into ketosis. 

Again, I went to sleep a little earlier than normal, but not as early as day 1!  I slept soundly, minus the constant pee breaks due to chugging the L-drink all day long! 

Some of the amazing teas included! 


Day 3
Weight lost- 2 pounds for a total of 4  ( this was over TWO days!)
What is there to eat? 
-L-bar
-tomato soup
-kale crackers ( I  MISSED these guys on day two!)
-Minestrone soup
-L drink 

Today was not as hard of a day as days 1 and 2.  However, it is the day with the least amount of calories.  This didn't seem to bother me, and this might have been because I was dealing with my hang-ups on food restrictions, and it also might have been because I no longer had a  constant headache on top of my hunger. 

The ProlonFMD literature says that your appetite should be changing, and as your body is entering a fasting state, you don't feel as hungry as often.  I think this was true.  I have intermittent fasted before and had had this same phenomenon happen and I am here for it!   It felt great to sleep well and to wake up not immediately hungry. 

The key to this day was planning out when I was going to eat each food, and how much I would eat.  I missed those kale crackers on day two!  That is a phrase I never thought I would say!  I split them between each of the soups for lunch and dinner.  I also made sure to save most of my nut bar for a sweet treat at the end of the day, since there was no choco crispy today. ( super sad!) 

The tomato soup tasted divine today! I think this was because I hated the quinoa soup so much.  I had liked the tomato soup day one, but I loved it today!  I was bummed that  I would not be getting it on day 4.  

Today was also an east hunger day.  I think this was partly because I was used to the food and had set up a routine, and also because I knew I had only two days left after it. 

This night I did NOT sleep well. I woke up from 4-6 am and was unable to get to sleep.  And I did not fall asleep until midnight before that.  I did take a nap in the afternoon, which could be a contributing factor to my interrupted sleep.  However,  I would call myself a professional napper, and I do not normally have an issue sleeping despite taking a nap. 

Day 4 

Weight lost- 1.5 pounds for a total of 5.5 pounds in 3 days
What is there to eat? 
- L-bar
-Veggiessoup (new flavor! Did not like, but better than quinoa!) 
-Olives- TWO PACKS! (still hate these, but I got hungry so I ate two...) 
-Minestrone and Quinoa soup ( I was v. upset about this!)
-L-drink
-CHOCO CRISP IS BACK BABY! 

Day four was pretty easy, but I waited to long to eat and that set me off.  I was out and about with my mom and  I got shakey and agitated.  We had to go home between errands so we could eat. Oops! 

This day was good mentally because I knew that there was only one day left, but there was still one day left! I just wanted to be done! My mom also agreed, she kept saying "I feel like this should be day 5!" 


I was headache free, slept well, and besides the one close meltdown, I was pretty sound mentally! 

I did not take a nap, I ran around with my dog and I sat in the sun on my porch for a while. 

Day 4 was good. 

Day 5- LAST DAY! 
What did I lose- Sadly, no change, but this is considered normal- many people lose weight after the fast on days 6 and 7! 
What is there to eat? 
- L bar
-Tomato soup ( I was very excited for this!)
-kale crackers (YES!)
-minestrone soup ( eh...)
- L- drink 

No choco crisp bar :( 

Day 5 was a mental game again.  I was not super hungry, but I needed to keep my mind from thinking about the fact that I could eat regular food again in just one day.  The more I thought about food, the more I wanted it.  So my mom and I discussed food for day 6 for 10 minutes and then agreed not to speak of it again.  We even made sure we were going to eat things we already had in the house so that we did not have to go to the store to stock up for day 6 on day 5.  That would have been our breaking point! 

I was a little fatigued today, but I think that was more from walking around in the 90-degree heat for a few hours.  My mom and I visited an outdoor art show, and that took a toll.  I drank so much water and paced myself with eating!  Those kale crackers needed to be saved for dinner so that I could end the day feeling satiated.  

I was able to end the day well, and with a great mood! Mostly looking forward to eating non-plan foods the next day! 

Day 6 

I know, this is supposed to be a 5 day fast! And it is! But day 6 still has some restrictions so that you don't upset your tummy by eating junk in bulk right off your fast.  You are encouraged to eat low glycemic fruits and grilled veggies on day 6.  You also should consider non-meat soups and no overly processed foods.  I went with a prolon brand l-bar nut bar, some tomato soup from a can, and avocado toast on gluten-free bread.  My tummy was just fine! 


Overall Results: 

5.5 pounds lost
Less puffy in face and under eyes, slimmer looking face 
Tummy bloat GONE and tummy pouch noticeably smaller
Great mood and good sleep 
Fewer cravings 
Lowered appetite 


This is something that I would do again! But not any time soon...  I think it's a great way to reset your gut and health, and it's such an easy program to follow!  It is all done for you, you basically just need to open packets and heat up water! 

Have you tried something like prolon?   Let me know in the comments your experience and what other tips you might have for Prolon Newbies! 













Say Hello to Our New Contributor!

Hello everyone! My name is Taylor and I'm super excited to be joining Math & Metaphors as a contributor. Just to give y'all a little background on me:

I'm originally from Maryland, but lived in Cincinnati for about 5 years after graduating from the University of Maryland (Go Terps!) in 2012. I'm a former 3rd-grade teacher and substitute teacher. I started my education career working in 3rd grade and decided to expand my horizons by working as a substitute teacher for several years. Subbing was quite an experience with several challenges, but it's one I wouldn't change!

About 2 years into subbing, I realized I was feeling a change in career, so I got my Master's degree specializing in Sport Administration from the University of Cincinnati (Go Bearcats!).  The summer after graduating, I had the most amazing internship: working for the promotions team with the Cincinnati Reds! This was probably one of my favorite jobs of all time; such an amazing experience! From there, I got my first job working with student-athletes and realized this was exactly the direction I wanted to go.

I realized I had to get more experience working with student-athletes, so I took an internship back at my alma mater, UMD. This was such a rewarding yet difficult experience for me. Working with football student-athletes, I felt the most self-fulfillment I had ever experienced. However, I had to spend the entire year without my husband by my side since he had a full-time job in Cincinnati. Being states away from him was nothing new (we did long-distance at the beginning of our relationship), but having experienced it once doesn't make it any easier the second time around! Needless to say, that year was full of mixed emotions.

And then that brings me to where I am now! I started working as a Learning Specialist with Molly at Notre Dame (Go Irish!) in July 2019. So many things fell into place for my husband and me this past school year and I honestly couldn't be happier. I am an educator at heart, so I'm excited to be sharing some helpful information with all of you Math & Metaphors followers! I'm excited to be starting this journey and hope you are, too!

Finals Study Tips for Students


Finals time is approaching! Even if it will look a little different this year than years past and future.  

My current work as a learning specialist at a top tier university has allowed me to work on creating easy and quick resources for students to use to help improve their study habits and approaches.  I wanted to share a few quick and easy bites of information that you could pass along to your students as they get ready for final exams! 


1.  Come up with a plan and start organizing at least two weeks before the exam

   I know, this seems unrealistic, and not something that our students will want to do, or do they even think that far in advance.  BUT I like to make this part of the finals prep a part of class.  I  usually spend a chunk of one class session having students get out all of their handouts, notes, and resources.  We then make a list as a class of all the possible resources they have to study from.  As always, there are some students who do not have the needed materials, or these things went missing in the abyss of lockers and backpacks. I allow time for students to reach out to a friend in the class to get a picture of the missing resource so that they have it to reference later.  Again, I start this about two weeks before the exam date, to get kiddos thinking about the fact that there WILL be a final exam, and to show them how much information will be covered on it. 


2.  Choose a good study space 

This is key.  I always suggest NOT studying in your room, but especially not studying in your bed.  Your body feels your bed and just wants to go to sleepy sleep!  I suggest a desk, a kitchen table, or ( in the future) a favorite coffee shop or library. This change of location lets your brain know that you are ready for studying and studying only! 

3. Minimize Distractions 

PUT THE PHONE DOWN. This is SO hard. Even for adults.  I suggest setting a timer for a certain amount of time you want to study, and then placing your phone in another room.  I also always think back to my college days, in the height of Facebook.  My friends and I would dutifully go to the library to study for finals and inevitably end up wasting so much time on social media.  The solution we came up with?  We would assign a friend ( THAT WE TRUSTED) to change our passwords so that we couldn't log into our accounts even if we wanted to. And we would give them a task we needed to complete before they gave us the new password to change back.   You don't even realize how much you reach for social media until you try and can't do it.  Easy way to limit distractions! 

4. Chunk Your Time

Activity study for about 20-30 mins and then take a 5-minute break.  During this break, make sure to stretch and move around.  The more movement the better to wake your brain up and ger oxygen to your brain.  Sitting down for a 2-hour study session is a daunting process.  But a 20-minute chunk? Easily doable. Plus, your motivation will not run out as fast, and you can keep studying for longer!  Make sure to take a snack and water break too! 


5. Utilize the Study Cycle! 

Studying is not a one-time thing.  It is a constant cycle that should be repeated over and over! 

The Study Cycle: Preview, Attend, Review, Study, Assess

These are just a few of the tips myself and my fellow learning specialist have come up with for our college students!  You can find these and more  Here on our TPT store!  

What are some of the tips you give your own students for finals? Post them in the comments below! 



Disney Tips and Tricks!


I LOVE Disney World.  And I love a good deal even more.

Last January, I was supposed to go on a weekend Disney trip with my brother and sister, but sadly the polar vortex grounded my flights....  However, I was able to go in June with the same tickets I had purchased before!

I wanted to share some of the tips we used to help plan an affordable and fun Disney trip!

First, take advantage of freebies! You can get a free pin for ANYTHING at guest services.  Make this your first stop so that you can have your pin for your whole trip!

Military Discounts-  If you have a family member in the military, this is a great way to make sure your money goes a long way!  First, you get discounts at any Disney hotel.  However, the best one to stay at is Shades of Green.  This is an EXCLUSIVE hotel for military members.  Plus, all of their stores and food is TAX-FREE.  Your coffee in the morning?  No tax!  Your Disney toy that the kiddos had to have?  Tax-free in the store!  Plus, you get discounted tickets and more with a military ID!

Disney Springs-  this is a great way to get great entertainment without a price tag!  There are always lots of shows, singers, and interactive events happening at Disney springs.   It's a great way to spend an evening or part of a day without using a park pass!

Hilton Honors/ Marriot Gold-  if you are a member of Hilton or Marriot rewards programs you can use your tickets at amazing hotels for less than the price of a Disney hotel but still get all of the perks! 
For example, Swan and Dolphin, which is close to Epcot and the Skyliner, is a Marriot property and will allow you to use reward points on your stay!  Plus, you still have access to extra magic hours while staying there!

The Hilton properties also grant access to extra magic hours, and are located within walking distance to Disney Springs.  You can use your rewards points to book a stay there!  AND if you are a Hilton Honors member, you get a free breakfast or coffee/pastry each morning!  Saves you money at Starbucks or in the parks!



Do you have other ideas to share?  Tell us in the comments! And enjoy the video of our park day!







New Year New Budget: 5 Easy Money Saving Tips I am Trying This Month



I have a new job, live in a new city, and am trying to buy a new house!  Per usual, I cannot simply do one thing at a time...

Since my new job ( my new DREAM job!  more on that later...) pays a little less than what I was making last year, I really needed to rethink my spending habits ( hello daily Dunkin runs, I'm looking at you).

For this month, I have decided to try out 5 easy strategies to jump start my money saving and money making MO!   I tried to come up with things that are easy and simple to implement so that I do not feel overwhelmed or like I am suddenly missing out on all the fun just to save money.

Look at my ideas below and let me know what you think or if they worked for you!

1. Unsubscribe from store email lists! 



All day long at work, my phone pings with new emails and 90% of them are from the stores I love to shop at advertising the deal of the day.  I am a sucker for a great deal, and I am also a sucker for good advertising...  These emails have lead me to more impulse purchases than I want to admit. 

To take control of my impulse spending, I decided to take away the temptation.  I unsubscribed from all of the emails that popped up in my inbox from 8am to 10am.  And it was A LOT.   I figured that I should start with a small chunk, and not get overwhelmed with how many unsubscribe buttons I needed to click...

In just 10 minutes I unsubscribed from my biggest impulse buy stores: Nordstrom Rack, Loft, JCrew Factory, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and a few more.

First, I feel like this is going to lessen my email anxiety ( so. many. unread.)  I also think not having those amazing sales in my face all day every day will keep me from pressing purchase!


2. Change my Google Autoload settings

The best part of online shopping is the ease.  The worst part is also the ease...  Clicking one little button to buy my whole cart of things is so easy that I don't even think twice about doing it.  It's not real money if its online right?!

I decided to go in and change my google chrome settings to NOT remember my credit card number.  This way,  I will need to physically take out my credit card to type it in, and that will make my transaction time a little longer, giving me time to really think about if I need what I am about to buy.


3. Get Rid on One Click On Amazon

Like the clearing of my autofill, this is another big step for me.  Amazon has taken over my ordering history, and it's always so easy to just have an idea of something I want, type it in, see it's on prime, and one-click it to my house!

I have decided to undo my one-click options, again to make myself really think through my purchases and decide if I need that new sweater or book.   Which brings me to number 4...

4.  Get Me A Library Card

Throw Back Tune for this one!



I LOVE reading.  Right now I get amazing free books from bookbub, but I also have a subscription to kindle unlimited which costs me $10 a month.  That sounds so reasonable for as many books as I want at my fingertips, but then I remember that there are these things called libraries that let me read an unlimited amount of books FOR FREE.  That is $120 bucks in my pocket at the end of the year, and I still get to read until my heart's content.   Plus, most libraries have their own ebooks available to check out, so I can still get myself the reads I want instantly!



5. Money Maker Alert- Selling Clothes and Buying Thrifty

I have a lot of clothes. Mostly from my online impulse purchases and those great deals that I just cannot say no to.

But this also means that I have a lot of clothes that I no longer wear.  Part of my new year goal was to clean out my closet.  In the middle of that process, I made myself a promise to get rid of anything I had not worn in a year.  Spoiler:  there were many things I had not worn in a year... Many of these, I am ashamed to say, still had the tags.

I now have a big collection of clothes that I am going to try to resell to a few of my favorite places.  Plato's Closet was always a spot I used in college and high school, but many of my clothes are too "sophisticated" for their clientele.  (This is what I was told when I brought in some of my work clothes last time)   However, I do have a lot of pieces to sell from the before time when I was a fun college kid and not a teacher with 30 sensible cardigans.    The best part is that PC pays you in cash right on the spot.

For my more sophisticated clothes, I like to bring them to the Clothes Mentor.   They also pay out in cash that day, and this makes hauling my bins of clothes there worth it.

The downside of these places is that I am left with all the clothes that they did not buy, and I normally just let them sit and sit and sit in my closet.  Until I discovered thredup! 

I love that they send you a free clean out kit and you can just fill it up, send it off, and forget about it until the money rolls in!

Last year I made about $300 in sales from this site.  You can make money two ways, they immediately buy your stuff and the cash goes right into your account, OR your item is chosen for consignment, and you make the money when someone purchases your item.

The best part is that they recycle/donate the clothes that they do not pick, taking that process off of your hands! That is really my fav part ( besides making that cash moneyyyy).

This is one the store that I did not unsubscribe from.  The reason being, the clothes I want are deeply discounted, and they send out some really great discount codes.   Plus, I am thrifting and saving money on clothes that I would normally buy full price.

If you are interested here is a referral link with a discount code for

you:

http://www.thredup.com/r/BTKGTC



I plan on updating this with an extimate of how much I was able to not spend. 

I would love to hear other ideas for how to save money!  Leave them in the commnets below!

Top Reasons Aries Make Amazing Teachers





As a proud Aries, I am beyond excited for Aries Season!  (side note: if you try and google Aries season it comes up Arie's season and all you get are links for the bachelor...)   In my family of five, four of us are Aries!  We pretty much have a birthday cake a week in the month of April.    Living with larger than life Aries, and being one myself I got to thinking about how this fire sign might be impacting my teaching.  So, I present to you:

Top 5 Reasons Why Aries Make The Best Teachers

Am I biased?  Yes. But I am owning it ( as a true Aries would) :)

1.  Aries are the leaders of the zodiac.

As the first sign, and a cardinal sign at that, we are ready to lead any day and in any way.  So, it only makes sense that Aries feel comfortable being in charge every minute of every day in their classroom.  And we do it with ease.  The role of the teacher is one that suits the Aries personality perfectly.




2. Aries Will Defend Our Students No Matter What

You think you can come after my kiddos? Think again.  The protective nature of the ram is awakened in Aries teachers.  Our students are our babies and we will advocate for their best interests in every breath.  And trust me, you do NOT want to get on an Aries' bad side.

3.  Aries Are The Life Of The Party ( and by party I mean classroom)
The fun-loving nature of an Aries is right at home in the classroom.  Aries teachers are always up for trying new lessons and new technology.  We love to be cutting edge, and bring this desire into our lesson plans on the daily.

4. The Enemy of an Aries is Bordeom
Aries HATE to be bored.  So, it makes sense that they would never want to be bored at work.  This makes for impromptu sing-alongs and dance parties, and crazy creative lessons.   I can guarantee an Aries teacher is probably not giving lecture notes every day in class...




and Finally:

5. Aries Teachers Will Always Tell It Like It Is
Aries despise dishonesty and do not enjoy playing games with people.  You will always know where you stand with an Aries and you will always get the truth from them.  This quality can be startling when you are on the receiving end, but it also means that Aries teachers will tell you exactly what you need to know to help you be your best. They are there to be your fiercest advocate and help you to create action plans for conquering the obstacles in your life.  You cannot find a better, more honest ally than in an Aries.




Where are my other Ram teachers at?!  Drop me a comment below :)

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