Teachers Can Have Fun, Too! with NESTLÉ® Crunch® (+ a giveaway)

Who said adults can’t have fun? And by fun I obviously mean chocolate bars. While heading back to work post-summer vacation can cause a pretty bad case of the Mondays, NESTLÉ® Crunch® chocolate bars provide an awfully good pick-me-up when it comes to a long day of teaching. Teachers deserve to have fun while at school, too!


Just one month ago I was paddling down the Clarion River, letting the cadence of the waves carry my kayak downstream. It was a Monday afternoon and not a soul on the water. Just the lapping of the waves against the boulders and the occasional splash of fish. Peaceful and perfect for reflections and daydreams.

Fast forward to now, and the hopes of a weekday retreat are gone, the hustle and bustle of a new school year back in full swing. The weekend is a reprieve from the fast pace of it all, but come Monday it’s back to the grind. Mondays are filled with meetings, remediation sessions, lessons, and grading papers, and it’s easy to get lost in the routine of it all. Don’t get me wrong — I’m thankful for the reliability, especially as a type-A personality who needs to have my day relatively scheduled. But occasionally (when I get that rare few second breather in the middle of a hectic afternoon) I find myself longing for the summer days not long ago, when I could throw my bike into the trunk and speed off to the lake in the afternoon, or go swimming in the falls on a whim.

I may not be able to have that kind of impromptu adventure these days, but I can decide to not let a drab Monday get me down. Especially when I’ve got a day packed full of teaching my kiddos story elements and good writing habits. Why not have some chocolate fun with the day’s lessons?

Wondering how to have some teaching fun of your own?

My #LifeHackToBoredom with NESTLÉ® Crunch®

Embrace pop culture // Giant nerd that I am, I’m all about including references to my favorite movies, comic books, and video games to make a lesson more fun. For me, it’s not only about creating a lesson that students connect to, but also one that’s fun for me to teach. I could easily put generic clip art or Google images on class notes, but a photo of Dumbledore to represent the trope of the mentor makes the concept all the more memorable.

Take work outside // One of my favorite things to do at the end of last school year was to take my AP Literature classes outside to read. With Senioritis setting in and AP exams over, getting teenagers engrossed in and wanting to read a novel is no easy feat. But who doesn’t love sitting outside in the sun and fresh air? I know I did as a high school student, and I do even now! A change of scenery and chance to sprawl out on the grass/patio led to many fruitful discussions, a fun atmosphere, and a genuinely interested community.

My #LifeHackToBoredom with NESTLÉ® Crunch® bars

Decorate your desk // Maybe it’s the long lost pre-teen girl in me, but there’s something about hanging posters from the walls and decorating binder labels that makes me unabashedly happy. If you’re going to be anywhere for 8 hours straight, you might as well make it a pleasing, comfortable place to be.

Fill your workspace with things that make you smile and realize that not everything has to have a purpose. Lego Millennium Falcon on my desk? Pop Funko Batgirl on the bookshelf? I look at them and laugh every time, without fail. Mondays aren’t so bad after all.

Act it out // Nothing screams fun like getting up and getting a little bit ridiculous! Reading a story the same way each time can be a bore, but actively performing events or even just providing sound effects (galloping horses while reading Sleepy Hollow, anyone?) instantly ups the excitement.

Grab a mid-afternoon snack! // Come one o’clock I need a pick me up that’s a little more exciting to help me power through an afternoon of classes. Plus, a NESTLÉ® Crunch® bar in hand makes waiting for the copier to spit out 65 note packets that much more fun. Note to teachers: don’t expect a whole bag of NESTLÉ® Buncha Crunch® to last more than an afternoon. Keeping chocolate on supply at your desk sounds like a great idea, until you realize you’ve eaten it all. Which may not necessarily be a bad thing.

My #LifeHackToBoredom with NESTLÉ® Crunch®

Still want to break up the monotony in your day-to-day? Enter below to win $20 (yes! — $20!) and treat yourself to something fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And because I was always the child who hit up the houses that had NESTLÉ® Crunch® bars twice multiple times each Halloween, I encourage you to visit NESTLÉ® Crunch® on Facebook to share your love of NESTLÉ® Crunch® and your own personal #LifeHackToBoredom tips!

Link Love


Links for your perusing pleasure!

♥ It’s back to school for many, and I can’t help but admire Sylvia Plath’s 10 Back to School Commandments
How to Personalize Your Planner on a Budget
True Story: I’m a YA Author
♥ This got pushed into the deep, dark recesses of my inbox, but it’s still such a sweet story. Boy asked mailman for junk mail to read, and the mailman responded spectacularly
Philosophy explained with donuts
♥ Earlier this summer I made my friend, who had never read/seen Harry Potter before save for “the one with the werewolves” watch the first movie. Similarly, people who’ve never read the Harry Potter books tried to answer questions about the series, and it’s pretty spot on.
The Everywhereist answers spam emails and it’s downright hilarious. I think all bloggers can sympathize
Let’s Talk About Millennial Poverty
♥ Suffering from writer’s block? Here are 25 tips to beat writer’s block once and for all!
How many words are in a novel?
♥ Buzzfeed claims it can predict your taste in men based off your taste in pizza. Accurate?
Stephen Colbert for GQ — longer, but well worth the read
♥ Decoupage your own geeky bag with Le Fancy Geek!
18 stories and novels read by Neil Gaiman, for free. Online. Because he’s got such a soothing and perfect storyteller voice and I know I’ve turned you all into Neil Gaiman obsessives anyway

In case you missed it… we’re reading Station Eleven in September and the reviews I’ve heard about it have been stellar! I shared some of my favorite blog organization tricks, including setting up your editorial calendar with Trello and a beginner’s guide to Periscope.

What fun links have you found lately?

Plan Your Book Haul For Your Next Library Trip (+ a free library card Filofax printable!)

filofax printable library haulWhen confronted with the prospect of going to the bookstore or library, my reaction can be summed up in one gif:

That being said, you can imagine how chaotic it is to step into a bookstore with someone who’s flailing around, picking up every book, and stroking the cover (true story). For a book lover, stepping into a library or bookstore with literally hundreds of, thousands of options, can be overwhelming!

Here are three ways you can combat Bibliophile Meltdown and shop (or rather, borrow) smarter:

1. Set a book limit — How many of you are guilty of walking out of the library with your borrowing limit maxed out? How about walking out of a bookstore, riddled with guilt as you think of your massive to be read pile at home, while you cradle a stack of 5 new books in your arms? Been there, done that (this week, actually). Keep your TBR stress at a minimum by setting a book buying limit before you walk into the store that aligns with how many books you can reasonably read at the moment, or how many unread books are sitting at home on your shelf.

2. Do your research — Indecision can strike at the worst moment. Don’t let it catch you off guard by doing your research before you get to the bookstore. Knowing what books you’re after, as well as checking out reviews, can help curb impulse buys and even general frustration (I’d like to think there’s research that’s been done on this, but I can’t find any. This is pure speculation based off of how many times I’ve stood in front of a bookshelf, cursing and frustrated at how many options are before me.)

Personally, I love checking Goodreads to see what my friends think of books, and read up on the most recent reviews, as well as trace similar titles.

3. Make a list — Don’t let all of that research go to waste! In case you can’t remember which books out of the hundreds you looked up on Goodreads, or can’t recall which your local library has in stock, jot down your book picks on a list that you can keep in your purse. I like to keep my check out list in my Filofax planner for easy access!

And so you don’t have to keep your book list on any ol’ scrap of paper…I made a library card-inspired book list just for you! Never forget a book title or author from your reading list again. With two sizes — a full 8.5″ x 11″ sheet and Personal size Filofax insert, these free printables will surely come in handy.

library card filofax printable

Get your free printable when you sign up for my newsletter! It’ll be in your inbox in a jiffy.

Free printables! Bookish news! Writing tips!

How do you keep your book shopping under control? Share your tips in the comments below!

Periscope with Confidence! What I learned from my first Periscope broadcast

Host Your First Periscope Broadcast with Confidence

If you asked me what Periscope was a month ago, I would’ve said, “The thingy that sticks out of a submarine?” Clearly, I had no idea just how much of an impact this social media tool would have on the world of blogging and small business.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and Ampersand Creative and I found ourselves sitting at The Point, filming a Periscope broadcast about the future of blogging. More viewers attended than I imagined would show up for my first broadcast (though, I’m sure our backdrop of Heinz field across the river and beautiful bridges didn’t hurt either.) Thirty minutes flew by in a flash, and before I knew it, I was addicted.

Periscope is a simple, candid way to share your content and engage with your readers.

We all love great content, but getting to interact with the person behind the computer screen elevates your brand to a whole new level. (tweet this)

Periscope is still in its infancy, and I’ve seen users experimenting with unique and creative ideas left and right. From The Thinking Closet‘s #MondayNightDanceParty to Chris Ducker’s personal and candid #Duckerscopes, there’s truly so much you can do with the app’s live broadcasts.

A live broadcast can be scary at first, especially if you’re not used to creating video content. But coming from someone who didn’t know the first thing about Periscope when I clicked ‘broadcast’ for the first time, the fun quickly takes over and your intuition as a content creator will steer you in the right direction.

But we’re all overachievers who (unlike Kristin, apparently) like to be knowledgeable about what we’re getting into beforehand. To spare you the fumbling of figuring it out from scratch, I’m passing on what I learned from my first Periscope broadcast!

Host your first #Periscope broadcast with confidence! I made the mistakes so you don’t have to! (tweet this)

1. Have a topic // Don’t go into a broadcast without a focus, or else you’ll be a ramble-y mess. You wouldn’t write a post about “Oh, I don’t know, just whatever comes to me…”, so don’t make a Periscope broadcast like that. Choose a topic to talk about and write down some notes if you need to. It doesn’t have to be planned to the max, but at least figure out some talking points. This also helps you to…

2. Optimize your title for Twitter // Because you can share your broadcast on Twitter both during and after, it helps to have a title that incorporates hashtags, which can make your content easily discoverable. Your title should say what your broadcast is about and include any keywords, just like a blog post title, as well as relevant hashtags.

Guess how hard it’s going to be to write a title, period, if you don’t have a general direction for your scope? (see step 1)

3. Invite your friends // Once you’ve written an enticing title, share away! Your Periscope followers will be alerted to your broadcast so long as they have notifications enabled, but invite your other followers by spreading the word on social media. Marissa and I did our Periscope broadcast completely impromptu, sending out just a few tweets minutes beforehand (which surprisingly got us a fair number of viewers), but you can plan and announce your upcoming broadcast as far in advance as you want!

4. Start out strong // Broadcasts start with a shot from your rear-facing camera (and there doesn’t appear to be a way to change this), but once you hit ‘start’, you’re live! Take a minute to introduce yourself and say hello to your viewers, but don’t sit around and wait for more people to show up. Start talking right away so that people see what you have to offer, and don’t get a video of you just twiddling your thumbs as your wait for a bigger audience.

Better yet, start your broadcast with a shot of a handwritten note or title card so viewers know what your broadcast is about (and so they aren’t staring at a blank wall.)

5. Ask questions // Whether it’s a simple “Where is everyone tuning in from?” at the beginning of your broadcast, or a reply to a question that’s come up, asking questions gets viewers involved in the conversation, which benefits both you and your audience, but don’t forget to…

6. Give people time to respond // It takes a minute to type a response to a question you’ve asked, plus you need a moment to read your viewers comments and reply. You’ll start seeing comments from viewers pop up at the bottom of your broadcast as you’re talking, which requires some multitasking. Pay attention to these, and give your viewers that time to digest and respond because…

7. People want to ENGAGE with you! // Yes, people want to hear what you have to say on your topic, but most viewers are excited to have some more one-on-one style interaction with you. While you certainly don’t want to go off on a tangent, don’t be afraid to take some time to engage* with your audience and show your personality! Be courteous (remember, you are the face of your brand) but be you!

*I ended my second broadcast on Proofreading Strategies by taking video game recommendations. Because why not?

8. Tell viewers how they can connect with you // While it’s not as formal as a call-to-action in a blog post, you don’t want your viewers to become blogging one-night stands. Remind them of your website’s URL (it helps to put this in your profile for easy reference), ask them to follow you for future broadcasts, or just to swipe right and share the broadcast itself.

9. Use a tripod; your arm will get tired // The thing that sucks about an impromptu broadcast is that you don’t realize how tiring holding your phone in front of your face can get. Do your arms a favor and find a place to prop up your phone, or better yet, use a tripod (I use a GorillaPod for recording all of my videos and I love it!) If you want the bicep workout, by all means, keep holding.

10. Save your broadcast // It’s important to remember that your broadcast is only available for 24 hours after it goes live, so if you want to save your content you have to save it to another source, such as your camera roll or the cloud.

I had a blast during my first Periscope, but there’s still lots to learn. Some of these tips I wish I knew before I hit “broadcast” for the very first time! There’s always next time for me (and you know there will be many more broadcasts to come!) but you can get started with these tips right away!

Don’t miss my next Periscope broadcast! Follow @mylifeasateacup for the latest writing & productivity scopes.

Happy ‘scoping!

P.S. If you’re looking for a comprehensive how-to guide for getting started with Periscope, MissTrenchcoat has a live demo to walk you through the steps!

Lessons Learned from 30 Days of Lists: How to Use Your Filofax for Journaling

#30Lists listing challenge blog hop

Ah, 30 Days of Lists. A time to get the creative juices flowing, answer stellar list prompts, and…use your Filofax?

You would think that with how many times I’ve participated in 30 Days of Lists, I’d be a listing pro. Do you want to know the truth? I still struggle to keep up some rounds.

It’s easy to fall behind and watch your motivation slip into a downward spiral of misery. I’ve been there. I’m not a traditional scrapbooker, and looking at all of the pretty designs, layouts, and albums are a double-edged sword: they’re incredibly creative and inspirational, yet can trigger the comparison syndrome real quick.

Scrapbooking isn’t my groove, so why force myself to list that way? It wasn’t until the upcoming September 2015 round that it dawned on me: use your Filofax! As a planner girl, I’m way more comfortable incorporating lists into my planner, especially with all of my familiar stickers, stamps, and pens on hand.

How will my Filofax Saffiano help me be a better lister this September? Here are the lessons I learned (ha! It’s like I’m doing the March 2011 list prompt all over again!) from this #30Lists journey!

filofax 30lists

1. List daily. Why make listing difficult, when the simple act of keeping lists in an easy-to-access place makes more sense? I’m guilty of procrastinating lists and having to play catch-up come the weekend, which is not only tedious, but also means I miss out on the full excitement of the #30Lists community! By keeping lists in my Filofax, I’m committing to having my lists on hand, all the time. No catch-up required.

2. Jazz it up with a printable. I’ve seen some pretty creative embellishments in the listing community, but if you’re like me and find that decorating isn’t your forte, use a printable to add some pizzaz and also save time.

I’ll be using my autumn-themed journaling printables for my lists (though, some lists may sneak their way into my weekly layout, too, if I’m being totally honest; sometimes you can’t beat the urge to doodle!) The autumn leaf watercolors on my Filofax printables add just enough color that I won’t beat myself up for having “ugly lists” (I’m the most indecisive decorator!) and can focus on content instead.

The nice thing about these are that, when all is said and done, I’ve got a collection of 30 punched journaling cards that I can bind together with a binder ring or pretty ribbon, allowing me to save my lists as a mini-book!

3. Keep it simple. The most important tenet of all! Getting behind on listing is never a fun feeling, and procrastinating is an unfortunate skill of mine. To prevent falling behind or feeling overwhelmed, I’m keeping it simple this round by focusing on my lists themselves, thankfully with help from said snazzy looking journaling card.

Will you be listing with us this September? There’s still time to sign up (and score an autumn Filofax printable of your own!)

#30Lists listing challenge

Stop by the other blogs in the #30Lists Blog Hop and get ready to list!

Want to join the blog hop? Share your link here!