Maca what!?


Good morning all!

If you are one of my teacher buddies, Happy Thanksgiving BREAK! Ahhhhh…..a week to get caught up on life :) What a gift. Today’s post is short but pretty interesting, I think.

Have you ever heard of Maca root or Maca powder? Well, it’s basically an ancient root native to Peru and the health benefits are like nothing I have ever seen! I could go on for days about all of the health benefits but my reason for consuming Maca is for hormonal balance. This balancing of the hormones works for both men and women…..yes, men have hormones too. Other health benefits and uses for Maca include:

  • Sustained energy
  • Mood boosting
  • Treatment for depression
  • Treatment for osteoporosis
  • Improves libido
  • Balances the entire endocrine system (the adrenals, pancreatic, pituitary and thyroid gland)

AND Maca naturally balances out the chemistry of our bodies because of the many proteins, vitamins and minerals, fiber and also  fatty acids. Enough on my rant…..let me tell you how I like to consume Maca. First, the flavor is a caramel, earthy flavor so I like to mix it into my coffee because it acts as a natural creamer (even though I still add milk!). Now, I use just under a teaspoon per mug of coffee; anymore and it gets a little too gritty for my liking. When I put it in smoothies though I usually do a tablespoon. Recipe for that coming soon….

Many people use Maca instead of coffee because of that rich caramel flavor, but not this lady. If I want coffee at night I will use a Maca substitute recipe but in the morning, bring it on. I use half-decaf though, and beware, Maca has an energizing effect (naturally) so combined with your coffee, it is quite the waker-upper. I LOVE it. I prefer to use Navitas Naturals brand :)

Here is my Maca Coffee recipe:

Take one mug of black coffee (I use half decaf) and stir in 1 tsp. of Maca powder. Let it dissolve really well. Then, I add organic whole milk (I do not use skim as it is too processed). I add it according to taste but I estimate just under 1/4 cup probably. I really like milk in my coffee :) Finally, I use one tsp. of organic coconut sugar. This sugar also has a caramel flavor and is FULL of vitamins and minerals. This one cup of coffee is loaded with nutrients, which is great if you have your coffee anyway, might as well make it healthy! I do not use artificial sweeteners because they are toxic, change the chemistry of your body, and taste like crap. All natural for this lady…..but feel free to add raw stevia (the natural form- not processed) in place of the coconut sugar. Enjoy!!  ( I have to use my Boston cup this morning in honor of my recent trip!) unnamed (1)

unnamedHave a great weekend!!!



JEA/NSPA National Convention in Boston


Hey guys! It has been FOREVER since I have posted…..busy doing lots of teaching and freelancing :) This post is for all of my adviser and yearbook staff peeps who need some help when it comes to grading. I have posted the presentation and all hand outs below. Please email me at if you  need anything else! Thanks to all who attended my session; it was such a great time!


Presentation: Grading For Editors Presentation PPT format

Grading Rubric for Writers: Writer Rubric

Checklist for Writers: Writer Checklist

Grading Rubric for Designers:

Checklist for Designers: DesignersChecklist2012-2013

Grading Rubric for Photographers: rubric photog

Checklist for Photographers: Photographer’s%20Checklist[1]

Editor’s Performance Rubric: Editor

Editor’s Employability Rubric: Employabilty_Rubric1

Thanks again!


Oh 27…..+ yummy cleansing smoothie recipe


Today is my birthday…..27 years old. I am officially closer to 30 than 20 and when I think of the past 5 years, I am looking forward to what the next 5 bring. Every birthday is a chance to take inventory of your life and reflect on where you are and where you have been. If you asked me 10 years ago, at the ripe age of 17, where I envisioned myself at 27 I would either say living in a flat in Paris or married with a baby living somewhere awesome. While I have lived in Paris for short time, I am glad I did not pursue that route in life. I am happy to say I have an amazing man who loves me more each day and a lovely home with two sweet little chihuahua babies. I do feel content, but also excited about this upcoming year.

I have not been blogging as much as I would like because I have been doing a TON of freelance writing work. I have so enjoyed writing and researching but when school starts back up, I have to put my teacher pants back on. I am glad that I worked so much on building my freelance portfolio this summer, and I can’t wait to see where that takes me…..

This week I am going to post an article on Paleo… stay tuned. I have been stirring up some new recipes too. I can’t wait to share! Until then, I do have one smoothie/juice recipe to share.  I do not have pictures yet, but this cleansing smoothie is super tasty!

Birthday Blend Cleansing Smoothie:

Half of an avocado soaked in lemon juice (I keep frozen avocados for smoothies, instead of fresh)

One (or half of a large) banana

Frozen mixed berry blend (I use blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry blend)

One bunch of kale, 2 large carrots, and a handful of broccoli florets JUICED

Scoop of green  powder (optional)

1/2 cup Almond Milk (or dairy milk)

First, juice all the veggies and pour juice into blender. Add frozen berries, avocado, and banana. Finally, add a scoop of green powder and top it off with almond milk. Hit blend and enjoy!

I do suggest using a frozen avocado if possible….I also juice a ton of kale and put it in ice trays so I can add frozen kale juice too. I love the thicker consistency :)


Hope you enjoy it!



Summer Kick-Off!


I hope you had a lovely Memorial Day! I had a nice time seeing friends and family….no pool or beach but lovely none the less :)

Since it is now the unofficial start to summer, and I am officially OFF for summer, I thought I would share my top five ways teachers can spend their summer break! Now, time for my disclaimer: I do not have children so some of these suggestions may not be right for everyone. I think spending time with your children is more important than any of these.

In no particular order, I bring you my top FIVE ways teachers can spend their summer breaks:

#1: Get a Job

Now, before you start protesting let me explain. I know you have a job, but what is something that you have always wanted to do if money did not matter? Work at a coffee shop or bookstore? A wine shop maybe? Be clear with the hiring manager that you just want maybe a few days a week and I am sure they will appreciate some extra help. Work like you don’t need the money! This is also great for networking. Here is a fun little article on how to find a summer job.

#2: Further your Education

I am in graduate school but if you are not, consider either starting a Masters program or taking a few classes at the local college. Here in Kennesaw, we have Kennesaw State University and they offer course extension classes on everything from marketing yourself for hire to various computer skills. These courses are about $150 for a 4-8 week course, but there are also free options out there too. If sitting in a class is not for you, consider online webinars. Most are free but there are a few with membership or other fees. One of my favorite sites for education related webinars  is Education Week. If you are a journalism teacher like me, check out Poynter’s online courses.

#3: Friends and Family

Make sure that you take time to visit both friends and family near and far. If you have an aunt who lives an hour way and traffic is terrible both ways, go see her on a Monday afternoon where there is no traffic and you can enjoy the scenic route into the middle of nowhere. Showing my appreciate for those who have supported me is a major goal of mine every summer. I love catching up with my girlfriends and going out on weeknights. Stay up later, travel a little farther, and reach out to those people you do not see as often as you want, or should :)

#4: Hobbies

Hobbies; what is that? If you are like me, to be able to have a hobby is like being able to find an extra hour in your day, but it is SO important to have hobbies. Choose something stress relieving, which is different for everyone. For example, I relax by doing. I stress myself out if I sit and try to relax….not workin’. So, I bake, scrapbook, or paint. These are my top three favorite hobbies. In the summers, I can spend a few hours searching interesting recipes and then spend the day in the kitchen experimenting. This may sound like a terrible day to you, but to me it is so relaxing. AND I have all of these new recipes on hand when the school year starts back and things get crazy.

#5: YOU time

I know hobbies can fall into this category, but what I mean is conscious you time…..whatever that means to you. Spend time reflecting on the things you wish you could change or tweak about yourself and make a conscious effort to do or change those things. For example, I have control issues. I let stupid things suck the life out of me and so I am TRYING to be conscious about when those thoughts and feelings come into my head and identify them. Then, my goal is to have a list and start letting myself lose control from these things. Resisting everyday is so hard, so just let yourself LET GO of some things that you cannot control anyway. I preach to the choir on this one for the record….

Even if you do none of these I hope you find time to enjoy some well deserved time off in the best possible way. I hope to blog a lot this summer and I already have some great new recipes to share for next time. If you have any suggestions for things to do over the summer, share in the comments below!!

Cheers to summer!


San Francisco in the Spring


While I have other posts in the works for my newspaper advisers and journalism teachers out there, I thought I would post a fun little visual field trip first…..

It was nice to take a walking tour of the city after my classes let out. It was breathtaking driving through Napa. It was a culinary journey eating my way through the neighborhoods of San Fran. The trip was just awesome. Here are some of my photos….

hotel view 1

GG bridge 2

hotel view 2

Water view


water 2

vineyard 2

US GG bridge



coffee shop

SF airplane

US Napa

photo 4


Thanks for stopping by and have a GREAT Wednesday! :)


JEA/NSPA Spring Convention 2013


I am now here in San Francisco, CA for the JEA/NSPA Spring Convention! I go twice a year, for the past three years, and this year I am presenting a session entitled “Grading for Editors.” I am very excited to share these excellent ideas. Newspaper advisers: please adapt these handouts as needed. I will do another post for newspaper advisers only (just give me a few days!).

I have advised yearbook/newspaper and taught Intro to Journalism for about 3 years now but I will tell you what….I have learned SO MUCH in this short span of time, thanks to attending conventions like this one. It is great to not only network but also learn from others and “vent” in a safe place :) This spring I will be attending a lot of sessions myself, mostly dealing with yearbook organization and leadership. I attend a few general sessions on journalism, but the organization and management sessions have always been my favorite.

Anyway, for those of you new to my blog (here to download session notes), welcome! I hope you check in often. I write about everything from healthy living to business writing and teaching high school English. If you attended my session, or plan to, thank you in advance. I appreciate any and all feedback in the comments section below! Thanks, and enjoy!

“Grading for Editors” PPT: JEA


Photographer Rubric









Team Member Evaluation

The Legacy Self Eval Form

As I said, newspaper advisers stop in soon. I will upload some handouts that I have used for my newspaper staff!

Happy Yearbookin’ :) Pictures of San Fran to come!!


Business Writing Seminar


A special thanks to all of the great participants in my business writing seminar this week! I will post more helpful tips and resources throughout the next few weeks. Stay tuned!!

Here is my power point from the session (special thanks to- see my works cited slide)

How to write a professional email

Enjoy the weekend,


Is the way we communicate too informal?


Hello, hello.

I feel a bit somber today after the tragedy yesterday in Boston. The very idea that another human being can have the capacity to do something like that scares me more than anything. I pray for those victims but try to keep my mind off of that terrible event at the same time. I hope you are finding healthy ways to cope.

Today’s post is all about communication. I tell my kids every dang day, “you need these skills for the real world!,” “do you want people to think you are not as smart as you are??” But, alas, I do fear it goes in one ear and right out of the other. Such is life. BUT I have had some interesting encounters with adults lately that have made me believe what I say is true.

College degress are not a requirement for many positions, so the seniors that leave my English classroom can literally walk into a place of business and be expected to communicate; not only with peers, but bosses, other businesses, etc. In their day to day writing, the purpose will change, the audience will change, and the format will change. What if these “students” are not ready? Who’s job is it then? The businesses’? Their own? Who picks up the bill on that one?I am interested to hear from those of you who work with adult learners or who may struggle in your own workplace with communications within your business.

thSince the prevalence of email, spell checker, texting, social media postings, etc., I think the emphasis on the importance of communication has shifted. Now, do I think this is a 100% “bad” shift? No. Do I think this is a 100% “good” shift? No. I think that with developments in technology, we inevitably change the way we communicate. For example, for a business looking to hire new employees, knowledge of the structure and format of a business letter may not be as essential  as email etiquette, or maybe the use of social media as a marketing tool. So, why are we only teaching MLA format and formal research paper writing (mostly) in our high school classrooms? Why not teach business to business writing, technical writing, or how to use social media for branding? I am sure there are quite a few teachers out there doing this already, and bravo to you, but I would not say you are in the majority…..

The way we communicate is changing, yes, but the manners by which we communicate should not. I have a sense that everyone and everything is just really informal now. I think the fact that we can email and text and tweet and Facebook at any time and expect someone to notice us is, well, egotistical.

When my students email me, I will NOT reply if they send me a poorly written email. I teach them email etiquette within the firstthCATM12VY week of high school, and I expect them to use what I teach them. College professors and/or managers will thank me someday, I am sure. I remember being SO afraid to email my English professors because I knew they were probably critiquing everything that I wrote. I would spend obsence amounts of time proofreading emails, but I think that is a good habit to have. We may have spell checker on email but we do not have grammar checker, or “hey that sounds pretty dumb” checkers. Just saying….

Thanks for listening to my little rant :)

Join the conversation below and let me know what ya think!


Spring Break 2013 + new recipe


Oh, it is the Sunday after spring break….one of the saddest days of the year, BUT we have six weeks left to summer break! Woo-hoo! Let the teacher countdown begin!

This spring break I made it a point to spend time with my new little niece and nephew, get out and have lunch dates, and watch the morning talk shows every day. Some of this probably sounds pretty lame to you but I always try to think of the things I would normally not be able to do, and do those things. Like watching morning talk shows (LOVE Kathy Lee and Hoda….go ahead and judge).

In addition to relaxing and enjoying some time off, I have been super busy with my freelance writing endeavors! I never thought I could enjoy technical and business writing so much, but I do! It has been great to watch it grow as I network with new businesses and organizations. I am really excited about the future! I have also started teaching writing to businesses, which is a lot of fun actually. Adult audiences are so different from what I am used to. I enjoy the difference in interaction and just overall change. Don’t get me wrong I love my teens- but change is something I have always embraced :)

Another exciting endeavor on the horizon is the JEA/NSPA Convention in San Francisco, CA. I can’t believe it is only 2 weeks away! I have attended this convention every spring and fall for the past 3 years now, and I enjoy it so much. This year I am actually teaching a session on grading. The title of the seminar is “Grading for Editors” and I will discuss how my editorial board manages the grading process on our staff. I have been preparing for weeks and can’t wait to share and collaborate with other journalism teachers and advisers! More to come on that….

Since this post is sort of random and just fun, here is what I did this week:

Celebrated my sister’s 23rd birthday



Took my niece and nephew for a stroll at the park (with my mom and sister too :) )


Had a picnic at Kennesaw Mountain with our fur babies


Breakfast in Atlanta with my honey (West Egg Cafe, I love you.)


Celebrated  my parent’s 32nd wedding anniversary (side note- also my dog Luci’s 6th birthday!)




Went mall shopping with my favorite helper


Completed the Warrior Dash with my daddy (2nd annual tradition!)


So, needless to say I had a great week with lots of baby time! Today I am back in the kitchen and came up with an interesting way to use the pulp leftover in your juicer. I juice one bunch of kale, pretty much every day, and there is so much pulp left over! I feel so wasteful. So finally, I created a recipe. I call it Kale Hummus (really original, right?). It is yum but you need to like the taste of kale.

Kale Hummus

1 can chickpeas

2 TBSP Tahini/sesame paste

1 TBSP olive oil

juice from one lemon

about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of leftover vegetable pulp (I used kale)

1 TBSP minced garlic

sea salt to taste

1/4-1/2 jar of sliced jalapeno (this is totally optional but I LOVE spicy stuff)

Basically just toss everything in the food processor and hit go. The paste is green and smooth but oh so good. Here are some pictures from today’s adventures in the kitchen!



Let me know if you try the recipe! Happy food processing :)