Happy New Year

Happy New Year friends!

The first full week back from vacation always seems to be the longest week when teaching. This week has crawled by. Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday!

Next Tuesday begins my second to last semester of classes before I am finished with grad school! Time is really flying by with this program.

Teacher friends, do any of you use Seesaw? I recently did some professional development to become a Seesaw Ambassador. I have been pushing for other teachers in my building to use it. I love that there is so much you can do within the app itself and how it allows parents to view student work and be involved as well. The problem we are running in to is how developmentally appropriate ways for kindergarten and first grade students using it to show authentic learning. Because I teach 4th grade, it is a little more difficult for me to come up with relevant ways for them to use it. If you have any ideas, I would love for you to share them with me in the comments below!
Thanks in advance!

Until next time,


2017 Year in Review

Wow. It has been a while. There’s a lot to catch up on, but it’s perfect for this year in review.

It was a crazy year and it doesn’t seem like it all happened in just one. January of 2017 feels like it could have happened three years ago. January started with a trip to D.C. to cover the presidential inauguration and our college’s drill team who performed in the parade. During our time there we also covered the Women’s March. This was my first time to D.C. and while the work was difficult it was so cool and worth it.

I finished up my term as editor-in-chief of The University Star in the spring. That job was the most difficult I’ve had but it taught me so much not just about how to work with and manage others but about myself as well.

During the summer, I interned at a local paper in my hometown and really dove into back-end development and management. I learned a lot and it was a good job for the summer.

Then I went back to college for my last semester. I got engaged that semester and graduated at the end of it. It was truly an amazing experience and I love the school I went to (eat ‘em up cats).

This year hasn’t started off any slower. I started my first post-grad job as a paid intern doing exactly what I wanted to do and moved into an apartment with my fiancé. I can’t wait to see what else this year will bring and I’m so grateful for 2017.

What was your favorite part of last year?



The post 2017 Year in Review appeared first on Paper & Coffee.

Additional FastPass+ Coming to Club Level Guests for a Fee

Yesterday, Disney announced that guests staying in Club Level rooms at select resorts will be given the option of purchasing an additional 3 FastPass+ per day. In addition, the purchase will also include reserve seating at all nighttime spectacles.

Dubbed “Theme Park Extra,” guests are able to purchase this additional perk for $50 a day, per person, with a 3-day minimum stay. While the perk is mostly for guests staying at the Club Level, there are a few other resort levels offering this experience:

  • Cooper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – Cabins
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Club Level
  • Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club – Club Level
  • Disney’s Boardwalk Inn – Club Level
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort – Club Level
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort – Club Level
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Villas & Bungalows – Bungalows
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – Club Level
  • Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels – Presidential Suites, Governor Suites, Parlor Suites, Premium Alcove Rooms

Guests who have purchased this additional perk can book these additional FastPass+ options 90 days in advance, compared to the normal 60 days. Guests also are not able to repeat the same FastPass+ attraction in the same day and have the same stipulations attached to normal FastPass+.

Chris’s Take This is a pretty interesting move forward by Disney. While I am not against this, I do have some overall thoughts. This seems like Disney is piloting the purchase of additional FastPass+ with the Club Level guests with the mindset of moving this towards all guests at some point. While I don’t believe Disney will charge $50 for guests staying at non-Club Level rooms in the future, the success of MaxPass at Disneyland could lead to a similar system being implemented at Disney World. Disney very easily could be piloting this system with guests who are not too concerned with the extra charge to simply get data points as well.

I sincerely hope that Disney does begin introducing additional standard FastPass+ to guests soon, however with so many guests visiting the parks it would be a difficult task to allow 6 FastPass+ to all guests. As Disney has been trying to make their Deluxe Resorts more luxurious, my thought is to add simply one additional FastPass+ to all Disney Vacation Club guests. This gives more of an incentive to join the program and let guests utilizing the DVC program feel like their membership is worth just a little bit more.

10 Acts of Tough Love Self-Care

Acts of tough love self-care are the things that are so good for us, but that we don’t want to do. I’m incredibly guilty of thinking of self-care as just a nice bubble bath while I sip wine and eat chocolate. But it’s so much more.

10 Acts of Tough Love Self-Care

Original photo byMona Eendra

Because the semester is about to begin, I need to remember how important tough love self-care is. I’m notorious for procrastinating and not doing the little things that need to be done. Well not this year!

10 Acts of Tough Love Self-Care
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I’m trying to set myself up for smooth sailing, and tough love self-care is the way to do it. Tough love self-care is:

  • Doing the hard things that need to be done, and will make your life easier.
  • Anticipating the little things that might come up, and being proactive instead of reactive.
  • Taking care of yourself, even if it ain’t all scented candles and bath salts.

10 Acts of Tough Love Self-Care

001: Get that paper work in order.

One of the best investments I’ve ever made in my life was a filing cabinet. It keeps the papers you need to keep in order, and everything is always stored in one place. And I’ll be real. Periodically you will need to clean it out. When papers are out of sight, they are out of mind. Which means that if you’re anything like me, you probably have a stack of old bank statements from back when your bank automatically sent those out. And I’m ashamed to say that I also have a folder of old test scores, you know, just in case I need to enter college as an undergrad again.

Getting rid of all this stuff has been a great way to make room for papers for my business. And real talk: It’s good to know that my important stuff isn’t getting all intermingled with all the garbage I no longer need.

002: Organize your planner.

When life gets a little hectic, I start shoving things into my planner. Mail, receipts, sticky notes, dead bodies – you name it. And even when things slow down, I don’t stop to clean all that stuff out. So I periodically need to take a moment and clean it out. By getting rid of all the junk, I keep my planner in good working order, and I’m able to use it to its fullest potential. This then keeps me on track, because when my planner is a hot mess, I don’t use it because it’s easier to ignore it.

(To hold myself accountable to this one, I’ll be updating you on my planner once a month on the blog and on my youtube channel. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out my post and my video about using a Passion Planner with my traveler’s notebook.)

003: Go see a dermatologist.

I finally did this at the beginning of December, and I’m pretty glad I did. Brittany Gibbons motivated me to make it happen with this post, since I’ve long suspected my years of sun worship would catch up with me. The bad news is they found something, but the good news is that it’s gone now. You can read about the whole experience here. But know that I’ll be going in to get a full-body check once a year, because it’s a really easy way to catch melanoma. Also, I’m pretty paranoid now and think I have like 8 new instances of skin cancer.

004: Thin out your book collection.

I hate having a ton of books that I won’t read. I have a bad habit of picking up books on the recommendation of people who may not look for the same thing in books that I do. But I feel this need to prove that I’m smart and well-read, That’s how I’ve ended up with too many books I won’t read. I’m much better than I used to be, but I still fall prey to it. But just going through them and getting rid of the books you don’t want is so incredibly freeing. Not only does it make space in your home, but it lessens your to be read pile.

005: Clean out your clutter.

Admittedly, I don’t have a ton of clutter since my move last June. But I do still have things I don’t need. I’m slowly getting rid of stuff I don’t want weighing me down, and I’m absolutely doing this Apartment Therapy Cure as a way of life, and not just something for the new year. There’s just something that feels so crazy satisfying about staying on top of the junk accumulation in your home. And it’s always nice to have more open, empty space in the house. This is definitely tough love self-care because I’ll have to stay on top of it, and keep working to get rid of stuff.

006: Start a new stretching routine.

When was the last time you stretched for the sake of stretching? Well, it’s been too long. I know that yoga isn’t everyone’s thing, so I’m not going to tell you to do yoga. (Full disclosure: I’m usually one of those assholes who always tells everyone they should do yoga whenever they mention they have any sort of physical affliction.) Think about how many hours you spend seated. Think about that weird little hump at the base of your neck that’s growing because you hunch over a computer. Think about how tight the muscles in your calves, hamstrings, butt, and lower back are from overcompensating for the lack of support in your shoes.

You need to stretch. And if you aren’t typically a stretcher, then I recommend creating two routines — one you do before bed, and the other you do when you wake up. Do a little research and watch some YouTube videos to find the stretches that will benefit you the most. The best part of all this is you can focus on the muscles that you really need to, and take however much time you need.

007: Unsubscribe from your favorite stores’ mailing lists.

I’m a sucker for a good sale. And all my favorite stores tell me so, so often, that all those items I want but really don’t need are on sale. And, even if I wasn’t planning on purchasing an item, I just might after getting that damn email. This is why I’m an advocate of unsubscribing. Sure, they add you to the email list every time you make an order, so it’s a chore to unsubscribe every time. But I’ve found it’s kept me from buying stuff I don’t need, and just get rid of.

008: Track your spending for the month.

If you’ve ever wondered what happened to your paycheck, this is something you should try. I’m always good at getting bills paid on time and putting money into savings and my IRA. But there are times when I will go 3-5 days in a row where I buy something. Sure, it may just be weird little things from the dollar store or a bottle of wine or a fancy coffee. But when that happens, I find myself at the end of the week wondering how I could’ve possibly spent $100. But by tracking my spending, I can see patterns to what I’ve been doing, then I understand how all those little purchases add up. And the best part? I stop making those little purchases because I’m more aware of the consequences of them.

009: Wear heinous shoes.

Generally speaking, I wear heinous shoes almost daily. (These Birkenstock Mantovas are some of my favorites.) I do this because I have jacked up hooves. And, I’m willing to bet that if you’ve worn cute, cheap shoes in the past few years, you do too. If you have any lower back pain that isn’t due to an injury, any knee soreness, or muscle cramps in your calves or thighs, then the rest of your body is compensating for the lack of support in your shoes. Get yourself some heinous looking, almost orthopedic shoes, and this will all go away. I promise. Yeah, it ain’t cute. But that’s why it’s tough love self-care.

010: Create clear boundaries about social media.

I’ve always struggled with creating boundaries in almost every aspect of my life. Social media has been no different. This is why I call in the big guns when it comes to invasive social networks. On my phone, I don’t have any notifications for social media — no sounds, no banners. When I’m using my laptop to work, I use the Strict Workflow Chrome extension, which allows me to set work intervals where I can’t access social media. Both of these things keep me off social media for large junks of time, though, I have to admit, I’m still on social way more than I should be. But setting these boundaries has definitely broken my anxious social media checking.

What's a tough love thing you have to do for yourself to keep your head on right?
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What’s Your Tough Love Self-Care?

What sort of self-care do you recommend? What’s a tough love thing you have to do for yourself to keep your head on right? What little changes have you made in your self-care that have made the biggest difference? Do you wear heinous shoes?

The post 10 Acts of Tough Love Self-Care appeared first on Marisa Mohi - Writing Tips and Intentional Living.

© COPYRIGHT MARISA MOHI 2016 All rights reserved. This content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, by any means, without the prior written permission of the author.

Adventure #1: Zurich, Switzerland

So what was I doing in Switzerland yesterday? To find the cheapest flight options and to facilitate my post-Bordeaux travel plans, I flew into Zurich and then took a nice long bus ride to Bordeaux. Since I arrived in what was morning in Zurich (and technically in the USA too, if you want to call 2 AM morning), and my bus didn’t leave until 8:30 PM, I spent the day sightseeing, at least until my lack of sleep caught up with me.

My first stop was at the Kunsthaus, one of the main art museums in Zurich. The collection covered European art from quite old to modern with a special focus on Swiss artists. They also had an exhibit of 19th century French art and one on the Reformation. An excellent place to spend a few hours! It was also really fun to connect it to some of the artists whose work I’d seen in my other travels, such as Van Gogh in the Netherlands and Magritte in Belgium.

hodler-rocks-glacier monet-falaise picture-of-van-gogh-painting

I walked through the middle of town, stopping at three different historical churches: Grossmünster, Fraumünster, and St. Peter’s. Grossmünster was largely built in the 12th and 13th centuries, and is where Ulrich ‘Huldrych’ Zwingli preached and inspired the Reformation in Zurich. There is an adjoining cloister than Zwingli converted into a school of theology. The next church, Fraumünster, was first built in the 9th century as a church and convent for primarily aristocratic women. The abbess of Fraumünster was the ceremonial ruler of Zurich, so when Katherina von Zimmern handed over the church to the leaders of the Reformation in Zurich it was highly significant for the success of the Reformation. The Bible was translated into German simultaneously at these two churches: the New Testament in one and the Old Testament in the other. A later pastor of Fraumünster retranslated it from the original Greek and Hebrew with footnotes for commentary. In the third church, St. Peter’s, there was an exhibit up about Erasmus, who apparently worked in Switzerland for a time. St. Peter’s was built on top of a Roman church and today has elements from the 9th, 10th, 13th, 15th, and 18th centuries.


I continued my walk through a park overlooking the river, where I saw a tombstone dating from when Zurich was a Celtic-Roman city called Turicum. I took a tram down to a park near Lake Zurich. It had been cloudy all day, but at this point the sun started breaking through and revealing the Alps on the far side of the lake.


While the train station may seem like a pretty basic part of the trip, it deserves special mention (and not just because I got tired and spent several hours there). The Hauptbahnhof is absolutely huge. I walked around for a while trying to figure how it worked, because it is basically a mall with trams and trains and buses scattered around. I am not generally a fan of malls, but it was very convenient to have multiple supermarkets available. I chose Migros, which seem to be everywhere in Zurich, especially in the train stations. The Hauptbahnhof even has a small chapel with prayer meetings once a day. I decided to check it out, even though it turned out to be just me and the woman in charge. It was also all in German, but I could pretty much figure out what was going on, even when I did not know exactly what she was saying. The Lord’s prayer is pretty generally recognizable, and I got enough of the poem by Bonhoeffer that she read to track it down. It was a refreshing end to a long day.

Vater unser im Himmel,
geheiligt werde dein Name;
dein Reich komme;
dein Wille geschehe,
wie im Himmel so auf Erden.
Unser tägliches Brot gib uns heute.
Und vergib uns unsere Schuld,
wie auch wir vergeben unsern Schuldigern;
und führe uns nicht in Versuchung,
sondern erlöse uns von dem Bösen.

Denn dein ist das Reich und die Kraft
und die Herrlichkeit in Ewigkeit.


New Year 1945. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

With every power for good to stay and guide me,
comforted and inspired beyond all fear,
I’ll live these days with you in thought beside me,
and pass, with you, into the coming year.

While all the powers of Good aid and attend us,
boldly we’ll face the future, be it what may.
At even, and at morn, God will befriend us,
and oh, most surely on each new year’s day

The old year still torments our hearts, unhastening:
the long days of our sorrow still endure.
Father, grant to the soul thou hast been chastening
that Thou hast promised—the healing and the cure.

Should it be ours to drain the cup of grieving
even to the dregs of pain, at thy command,
we will not falter, thankfully receiving
all that is given by thy loving hand.

But, should it be thy will once more to release us
to life’s enjoyment and its good sunshine,
that we’ve learned from sorrow shall increase us
and all our life be dedicate as thine.

To-day, let candles shed their radiant greeting:
lo, on our darkness are they not thy light,
leading us haply to our longed-for meeting?
Thou canst illumine e’en our darkest night.

When now the silence deepens for our harkening,
grant we may hear thy children’s voices raise
from all the unseen world around us darkening
their universal paean, in thy praise.

While all the powers of Good aid and attend us,
boldy we’ll face the future, be it what way.
At even, and at morn, God will befriend us,
And oh, most surely on each new year’s day!

While they do speak French in Switzerland, Zurich is in a German-speaking region. I had learned a few phrases in German before I went, and began working on creating a phrasebook for the different countries I plan to visit. In addition, I figured my Dutch would help me. While it was definitely useful in understanding things, most of the brief conversations I had went like this:

Emily: *says something basic that’s almost definitely German*

Emily: *finishes statement in Dutch*

Swiss person: *switches to English*

There were a few exceptions to this rule – once my interlocutor switched to French (because I asked for a French audio guide), once they continued in nice slow German (thank you lady of Fraumunster you were great), and once they actually were Dutch. That was a pleasant surprise, as was getting to translate the bus information for people who did not speak French.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with my time in Zurich. It’s a lovely city, and I really enjoyed the sites I got to see and learning about its art and history. The public transportation is phenomenal, and since I purchased a Zurich Card I had unlimited access to it for the time I was there. Buying food at a supermarket is so much cheaper than buying food at a restaurant, and is a lot easier given my food allergies.

I do wish I’d gotten more sleep the night before, but that’s hard to do when the “overnight” flight is just seven hours. I mean, I could have skipped dinner, but what fun would that be? I also misread the information about the Zurich Card, which only provides discounts to the museum, not free entry, so I ran out of francs pretty early. But hey, what’s travel without a few hiccups? I look forward to coming back to Zurich towards the end of my time in Europe. Stay tuned for more updates now that I have arrived in Bordeaux and met up with my roommate!


Adventures in Spring 2018: Bordeaux, France

I have just arrived at the Pessac campus of Bordeaux Montaigne University! Having studied French officially for six years and off and on since I was five or six, I am extremely happy to say that I am finally in France for the first time! I will be studying here for the entire semester, taking classes in French and staying in a dormitory. Pessac is a suburb of Bordeaux, which is located on the Garonne River in the southwest of France, near the Atlantic coast and not too far from Spain. I have had the excellent fortune not only of having a friend who has studied there previously and is full of helpful suggestions, but of going with one of my closest friends on campus.


Gare St. Jean, Bordeaux

My main goal is to improve my French. Having been so absorbed in Arabic since starting school here, I have had fewer opportunities to practice French than I would have liked. Since I will be using it in classes at the university and in daily life, I hope to make a lot of progress.

In addition to getting better at French, I am really looking forward to actually living in the country and learning about the culture. That’s one of my favorite things about travel: figuring out how another place works and learning about myself and who I am in the middle of the newness.  Luckily, I’ve had quite a bit of practice these last few years. While I’m here, I hope to get involved in different activities, explore the city and beyond, and, of course, buy books.



Data Analytics bootcamp announced for Spring 2018 in OKC!

OK Coders is excited to host our first ever data analytics bootcamp this spring in OKC! The 8-week introductory bootcamp will cover the basics of data analytics using R and SQL. During the 8 weeks you’ll learn how to work with a relational SQL database, how to break down analytical questions into small sub-problems, and how to solve each with the R programming language. The class will cover the basics of working with data, statistical modeling, and some application of machine learning. This will include the completion of 2 analytical projects that can be shown in a code portfolio. The bootcamp is intended for beginners, but experienced developers are welcome as well.


Bootcamp dates and cost to participate

The 8-week bootcamp will take place Mondays and Wednesdays in downtown Oklahoma City this fall. The bootcamp will run from 6pm-8pm for 8 consecutive weeks beginning March 5. The cost to participate is $395.


Are there any prerequisites?

No previous coding or data analysis experience is necessary in order to apply for this bootcamp. If you are brand new to programming or to the R language, check out this free online resource to start getting familiar with the language and syntax of R.


Who is teaching this bootcamp?

The bootcamp will be taught by Frank Evans, a data scientist at local tech company Exaptive. Frank works heavily with big data systems, and his work spans financial analysis and behavioral analytics to sports analytics. His primary interest is in machine learning and feature engineering on very large scales. You can check out his work here: https://github.com/frankdevans and http://www.slideshare.net/frankdevans, and you can watch his TEDxUCO talk here.


How do I sign up?

Applications are at okcoders.com/apply and are due on Wednesday, February 21. Shoot us an email if you have any questions about the applications or the curriculum.

College of International Studies’ Student Advisory Committee

I am extremely excited to be a part of the Student Advisory Committee this semester. The organization focuses on promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion throughout our campus. I discovered this organization through a film screening of 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days that I attending earlier this semester. I am extremely passionate about the goals of this organization.
This semester, the organization was very small, but applications for new positions were recently opened so I’m hopeful that it will grow and we can continue to raise awareness for global issues. I think this is a great platform on which to start conversations and educate our community. I cannot wait to see what new people bring to the table.
Personally, I am focused on issues of women’s rights around the world and have been particularly involved in the issue of sex trafficking. Next semester I hoping to host a bra drive for women who have escaped sex trafficking and need to regain a place in society. The company, Free the Girls, gives women the opportunity to become entrepreneurs by helping them sell bras to their community. This is one small way people can help. This issue is global and effects many people in the United States. I am looking forward to developing more ideas for upcoming events and projects.

4 months 3 weeks 2 days

Today I attended a screening of the Romanian film 4 months 3 weeks and 2 days. The story follows a young college woman and her pregnant friend as they endeavor to get an illegal abortion. The secrecy, the paranoia, and the obstacles were extreme. They met in dark alleyways, they gathered up hundreds of dollars, and both girls were raped in order to make sure the procedure went through. The film was excellent and brilliantly made. The minimalism used in the cinematography and dialogue emphasized the gravity and the reality of the situation.
I think the most sobering fact for me was that there are women who have gone through this- or worse- to avoid the consequences of pregnancy. So many countries, including the United States, do have a culture that is supportive of pregnancy outside of marriage. They are usually shamed or disgraced and rarely receive the support they need during and after the pregnancy.
The cost of having a child, monetarily, physically, and socially, is enormous. Most countries have few programs to aid single mothers (i.e. paid maternity leave, affordable childcare, etc.). I think it is extremely interesting that both sides of the abortion debate used this film as a reference for their argument. On one hand, the film shows how horrific the process of an abortion is. The obstacles these women had to face were psychologically damaging and the long shot of the dead baby on the bathroom floor is gruesome at best. On the other hand, people argue that this is why women need access to safe and legal abortion. Both sides agree that women do not have access to the resources they need. Hopefully we can continue to be an advocate for women across the globe who are facing these issues in an unforgiving society.