Energy?

How do I get through my day?
As a teacher, I need an endless supply of energy at all times. I am always on the go.

There are a few ways that I get through my day.
One way is actually through Avon’s new wellness line. No matter what I drink in the morning (whether it be coffee or tea or some other concoction), I always take my Espira Women’s Daily Essentials. They have been amazing. The days that I forget to take them, I can definitely feel it. They are all natural multivitamins with 20+ essential vitamins and minerals plus phytonutrients, include a full spectrum omega-3 capsule to support cardiovascular health, and have plant-based antioxidant protection from 50+ fruits and vegetables to target eye, heart and immune health. I feel more alert and focused throughout my day. What’s great about them is that you can pick different vitamins based on you, your age, and your gender.
The second thing that I sometimes take from Avon is the Espira Natural Energy which is a wonderful help when I’m feeling energy deprived. The energy is long-lasting (which I need since I’m at school nearly twelve hours a day) and from clinically studied ingredients within green tea and whole coffee fruit extracts. I haven’t experienced any jitters with it either, so that is always a plus.

Speaking of green tea, I have another method to keeping my energy up throughout the day. I’ve been trying to become more healthy, so I’ve developed a breakfast concoction to start my day. It involves a mug (or a glass), a 1/2 – 1 whole teaspoon of this matcha (organic and has a smooth flavor even if you just have it alone), 1/2 teaspoon of this turmeric (again, organic and there’s enough of it so that I can use it in other recipes), a dash of cinnamon, a dash of ginger (not too much unless you want it to have a spicy kick), and a half of a scoop of vanilla protein powder. Add water (or any variety of milk), mix it all up (an electric milk frother like this works better than a normal spoon) and enjoy! The taste is surprisingly good (some of you may opt to leave out the ginger as it can have an overpowering taste), and the energy last most of the day. Green tea matcha has an energy that lasts longer than coffee bean energy, and what’s even better is that I don’t crash after it. If you’re opting not to put in the protein powder, I would definitely eat something with it such as a banana or breakfast bar. Drinking matcha on an empty stomach often results in an upset stomach.

Of course, my other way of getting energy is through coffee. I’d have to say that my favorite coffee is Kahlua coffee (non-alcoholic – save that for another time). The flavor is amazing flavor and is extremely aromatic.

Sleep is also another great source of energy. My problem is that either I can’t fall asleep or I don’t have enough time to sleep. One thing that helps me out is also from Avon’s wellness line. Espira Restful Sleep is a natural, non-habit-forming supplement contain which a proprietary combination of melatonin and botanicals such as hops, chamomile and passion flower to relax your mind, while magnesium promotes muscle relaxation for your body. It helps me relax and sleep well through the night. The great thing about it is that I also don’t feel groggy in the morning when I take it which happens when I take anything else.

Feel free to check out some or all of the products I mentioned and ask me some questions as well.

I hope you all are enjoying your summer!

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My Little Side-Gig

Here’s a little bit of shameless self promotion.

As many of you know or have guessed, I am a teacher. Naturally, that means I have a side-gig as well as my teaching job. My side-gig is Avon. My family has been selling Avon for many, many, many years. My grandmother started decades ago and pretty much everyone in the family followed suit. I had to put my Avon on hold when I went overseas, but I’m back now and settled so I’m starting it up again.

If you’d like to support me you can check out these links.

My Facebook Business Page where you can see the latest deals and sales (like / follow the page to stay up-to-date).

My Avon E-Store where you can order directly from me. Make sure you see my name  (Angela) when you click / are shopping with me. I you’re a first time online customer, reach out to me and I’ll send you 10% discount on your first order!

If you’re interested in becoming a Beauty Boss yourself click here!

 A few of my favorites:

supreme nourishment
Avon’s Supreme Nourishment Triple Phase Body Oil

 I love this body oil! It keeps me moisturized and have an amazing scent. Every time I wear it I get compliments. It combines Vitamin E and Argan, Babassu, Macadamia Nut, and Sunflower Seed oils.

nutraeffects-sub-brand-headers-balance
nutraeffects Balance Collection

I have naturally oily skin, so I’ve always had issues finding a perfect moisturizer or a moisturizer that didn’t make me break out. The Balance collection works wonderfully! There’s a night cream and day cream both of which are very light but because of the chia seed it packs a powerful moisturizing punch. Plus, the day cream has an added SPF 15 protector in it! The nutraeffects line in general is wonderful and has choices for everyone’s skin type and preference.

Avon’s Bold shades have great stay power. I’m very picky when it comes to lipsticks because I hate having to reapply. The Bold line stays on fairly well. It needs a little touch up after you eat, but other than that it holds up fairly well. The Matte collection is just as good as well.

bold
Avon True Color Bold Lipstick in Ruby Shock

I’ll post more reviews as test more products!

Journeying to the States: I-130 Stage

 

The first step in coming the US is proving your relationship. Start gathering evidence as soon as you can. Don’t throw away tickets with your names on them. Go back into your hotel reservations, etc. Take as many pictures as you can. Document everything. Save old chats and Skype history.

Form I-130 is filling out basic information about you and your spouse. You’ll need your Social Security number or your A number (in order to bring your spouse to the United States you must be a U.S. citizen or green card holder), your address history for the last five years, your employment history and addresses etc, as well as your spouse’s, and so on. The updated I-130 now has biographic information on it as well (hair color / race / eye color. When I filled out the forms and submitted them I had to fill out forms G 325A for my spouse and myself, but now you fill out for I-130A instead.

Also, try to get your name/ your spouse’s name changed as soon as possible so that you can provide the updated ID, passport, and Social Security.

Here are the updated links to the current forms that you’ll need to fill out:

I-130 Form and Instructions: Petition for Alien Relative
I-130A: Supplemental Spouse Information used instead of G 325A

If you’re having trouble filling out the forms, do not neglect the instructions that are given with them. I know that it’s extra reading, but what’s ten extra minutes of reading compared to a few extra months of waiting because of a silly mistake?

When submitting evidence, be sure to include a cover page detailing everything that you’ve included in the packet.  See the following images. I’ve added some notes on the side.

Cover letter pic 1

Cover letter pic 2

Cover letter pic 3

My summary of our story included how and where we met, places we’ve been to, important dates, our jobs and education, etc. Everyone’s story is unique. Try to keep it to one typed page. I also stated that I moved back to the states and have already secured a job etc even though that information isn’t necessary until NVC gets involved. You want USCIS to know that there is a steady income over a certain amount so that they know the immigrant will not be a burden on the US. This information usually isn’t required until the NVC stage which typically won’t be until at least six months later (earlier if you’re super lucky or had an expedite approved) or much later (like in our case – nearly ten months and we didn’t even have any missing documents). Unless specifically stated, do not include originals of documents. Copies are fine.

When I was including pictures in my Word document (later saved as a PDF and then printed in color, one sided), I made sure to add the date that they were taken (digital copies usually have the date encrypted in them), where they were taken, and who was in the picture. Pictures of your wedding and engagement are very good evidence. Especially if you have photos of you signing your marriage certificate / book. Pictures with your spouse and their family / your family etc are great. I probably went a bit overboard, but I included about thirty pages worth of pictures and explanations. I also included the link and screenshots of our wedding website, Facebook events that I had made for the wedding and bachelorette party etc. I included copies of airline tickets going to see him and even our university transcripts to prove that we were there at the same time. Anything that has both of your names on it especially a rental agreement or something of the sort is wonderful evidence. Do not include CDs or USBs etc. They will not look at them.

Photo evidence 1

Once I triple and quadruple checked all of the documents and signed the I-130 and other forms (make sure your documents are signed or your application will be rejected), it was finally ready to be sent off to the USCIS. Don’t forget the money order for the I-130 fee which is currently $535.
Here are the addresses to send your I-130.

Once you submit everything, you should get your first notice NOA1 which will be the receipt that they received your package and are reviewing it. Don’t lose this receipt number. You can use it to check the status of the application.

There are a few sites that are great for help and questions as well.

VisaJourney.com  is great for creating your timeline and tracking other timelines of those who may have similar cases to yours.

The Facebook group (you’ll need approval to join) “I-130 filers Immigration Visa Group.” is also great for asking and answering questions.

Search around on Facebook as well for groups that pertain to the country that your spouse is from because the information may be more beneficial to you.

Keep doing your research while you’re waiting for you approval. Start getting your documents ready for the NVC stage. I’ll write more about that later. The wait time is probably the most frustrating and painful time. We got our first receipt from USCIS September 8th, 2016 and didn’t get our approval until June 29th, 2017 – that was 295 days or 9 months 22 days.

Journeying to the States: Intro

 

My husband and I met nearly six years ago at college in New York. He was an exchange student and I was a junior trying to figure out if and how I could study abroad. When we started dating, we were both trying to figure out how it would work, I mean I didn’t even have my passport yet! What an ordeal it was for me to get that (that’s another story).

In short, he was just the push I needed to help me pursue my studies abroad. If you’ve been following me for the past few years now, you’ll know that I went to Pisciotta, Italy for a summer semester then visited Istanbul for the first time in the summer of 2012 to stay with my husband (then boyfriend) and his family. After my fall semester in Urbino, Italy we both met up again at our university in New York and graduated together that spring. We were stuck on how to continue seeing each other though. After all, transatlantic relationships and plane trips aren’t exactly cheap and easy.

Then I figured it out. While working a waitressing gig, I also took a TEFL course and powered through it in order to go back to Turkey with him that fall. I started teaching English to kindergartners and preschoolers in August of 2013 in Istanbul. My second year there, I moved to a different school and my husband and I moved in together in our own apartment. We adopted some kitties, got engaged, and then got married. It all just seems peachy-keen, right?

Wrong.

Here comes the hard part. We decided it’d be best for him to get his U.S. citizenship. Now, for anyone currently doing this or who has been through this process, you know this is no walk in the park. It’s a long and grueling, expensive, lonely, stressful, and damn near cruel process. The U.S. does not make it easy for people to immigrate here. In order for him to immigrate here legally, I have to prove domicile (a place to live), a steady job with a certain income, and our relationship. Seems easy enough you say? Just wait. Even once all the items are gathered and double, triple, and quadruple checked, it then takes months  and sometimes and years for everything to be checked over by the government and when you try to call to ask for a status update, no one has any sympathy. I will write about the process in steps to try and help others who are going through the same thing.

Baby Steps

 

This year, I have an interesting breakdown in my class. My kids are either Tier 1 (on level) or Tier 3 (below grade level). I don’t have any in between. A handful of my Tier 3 kids cannot read at all and have tested at kindergarten level (keep in mind that I am a third grade teacher).

I have one boy in particular who’s been to seven different schools, was retained in kindergarten, and nearly enough absences to add up to a whole school year. This boy cannot read and I’ll be working with him as much as I can.

The other day when I was working with him, I put him on the Kindle and he did a short lesson on Hooked On Phonics. At the end of the lesson, he was so excited to read to me! He read simple short a words like Jan ran can cat bat sat etc. I could hear in his voice and see in his face how proud of himself he was. He said that he loved that story and it’s the best. As a teacher, there’s no greater feeling than watching those struggling students finally making a break through. I definitely teared up…

I cannot wait to see what else he accomplishes this year. I’ll be there for him every step of the way.

Nine, Ten; A September 11 Story

As the summer goes on and nears its end for us teachers, I’ve been thinking about books to read to my students. I wanted to try to do at least one chapter book per month or perhaps two depending upon the length and time that we have.

I read a book, recently, that I’m thinking about reading to them. It’s called Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story. Now this book mainly talks about the lives of some children who were all affected in one way or the other by the attacks, but it talks mostly about the days leading up to the attacks. As an adult reading their individual stories, and the days and minutes got closer to the actual  event, I could feel my heart beating faster and the tension building because I knew what was coming.

I wanted to find a book for my students so that they could learn more of what it was like when these attacks happened. Everyone remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing when it happened, but we, as teachers, now live in a time where most of our students weren’t even alive when it happened. Most of my kids this past year were born in 2008 or 2009.

I think that this cotghereuld be a wonderful book to read in the days before September 11th, and then I’ll find another to read after because it’s mostly days that are all leading up to the attacks. Then it does a short chapter about one year after.nineten

This book could be great for teaching perspective and point of view as it follows four very different young adolescences days before the attack. One is a young Muslim girl in Ohio who struggles with fitting in, another is a young black boy who lives in Brooklyn whose absentee father angers him to no end, still another is a young white boy in Shanksville, Pennsyvania who recently lost his father and is struggling to come to terms with that, and the last is a young Jewish girl who just recently moved to California because of her mom’s job and her mom is on a last minute business trip to New York. As you read through each of their stories, there are moments in the timeline that definitely make your heart jump a bit because you know what will happen.

It is emotional and there will be tears, well, for you at least. The kids might not have that type of connection with the story because they weren’t born yet, but who knows.

Either way, I do recommend this story as perhaps an introduction to learning about September 11th.

FSA Prep – 3rd Grade

I know we don’t even want to think about it, but the beginning of the school year is right around the corner. As a teacher, I start August 3rd and my kids return August 10th. Like it or not, it’s time to prepare for the inevitable…

This past school year, 3rd graders took the FSA at the end of March and the beginning of April. We started practicing in January when we got back from winter break, but judging from scores and knowing the kids that are in our school, I believe we need to start practicing much earlier. I won’t lie and everyone knows that I am not a fan of this test nor any other standardized test, but they have to take it anyway.

I used these books last year to help the kids prep for the test. The format was good and easy to go through. I would usually give a Reading passage as morning work, and then during ELA we’d work on reading through the questions, going over testing strategies, etc. The same goes for during our math block. We would do fact review first and, of course, review some other concepts, then jump into answering these practice questions. We’d break apart how and what is being asked (because we all know testing language does not make sense) and then we’d try to solve the questions. While solving the question we would either review old concepts or delve straight into new topics. I would sometimes slip a few of these pages into their homework packets as well.

Like I said, I’m not a fan of testing but it has to be done here. My fellow Florida teachers know as well that 3rd grade is a critical year as it’s the first year that they take these tests and if they do not pass them, they are typically held back unless they fall into certain categories. Being that we are a Title 1 school and we’re not scoring well, it’s time we pick up the pace even more. We’ll need to try new things for sure, and one of those things will to be start practicing from the beginning of the year.

I would check the links below and definitely add them to your library. They wonderful resources to have when you start preparing for testing season. They also have them for other grades as well.
FLORIDA TEST PREP English Language Arts Reading Workbook Grade 3: Preparation for the Florida Standards Assessments (FSA)

FLORIDA TEST PREP FSA Practice Test Book English Language Arts Grade 3: Covers Reading, Language, and Listening

FLORIDA TEST PREP FSA Practice Test Book Mathematics Grade 3: Includes Two Full-Length Practice Tests

Comment if you have any questions! I’d love to hear back from some other FL teachers!