remember that??!    the days that i used to blog?  NO?!  i hardly remember it either.  and i have no excuses this time HA!

but i will tell you that for ages linds has been telling me that i should VLOG.  and i have been thinking about it recently.  i even did some research.  but i dunno???  do i have enough to say?  enough to VLOG about?!  and it’s weird because i used to hate the sound of my own voice and hate watching videos of myself.  but since making insta stories for the glue (with linds) and then on my own instagram, thetalesofemkat, i have definitely become more comfortable with the whole video thing.

anyway.  that’s a random thought train that you got to come on with me.  you’re welcome.  now…to vlog or not to vlog?!  or to BLOG or not to BLOG?!  what do i do?!

here is a quick (and better-late-than-never) look at my spring break in lebanon with pam!  if you’re interested in seeing more, you will find them on my facebook 🙂


ok so i’m a week late…but you know how it goes.  here is what april brought to the SHELF 🙂

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

last month i read another book by this author (we were lying) and it was soooo good.  so, naturally, i was very excited to get my hands on this book.  it’s written in a really interesting way – starting with chapter 18, working its way to chapter 1.  and then finishing with chapter 19.  it was really cool and a for real page-turner.  i started this in the airport on the way home from beirut and finished it that night before i went to bed.  i love the style of writing and the mystery involved in the story.  i don’t want to give anything away so i won’t tell you what it’s about but i will tell you that it’s a great book!!


The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly

one of my grade five students recommended this book and while it was cute, i was not super into it.  i found it really hard to connect with the characters and there just wasn’t enough action for me i guess.  i understand why young girls would like it and they can obviously relate to it more, but it wasn’t my favourite.  it’s about sisters who are left without a family and how they stick together through everything.  anyway, an okay read but nothing too exciting in my opinion.


The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

this book has been on my ‘to read list’ for quite a while and i am so, so glad that i finally read it!  it had me laughing out loud so many times and basically i think that amy schumer and i should be best friends because i think we would really hit it off.  just saying.  this book includes some random stories from amy’s life that all sort of add up to where she is today.  i think that her outlook on life is uplifting and REAL.  i guess that’s what it was – you could feel the connection to her as you read because she’s a REAL person.  it was well worth the read if you’re into memoirs.  GO READ MY BEST FRIEND’S BOOK NOW! HA!


George by Alex Gino

this was a super-sweet, read in one sitting, kind of book.  it is about a boy who, from a very young age, identifies as a female and is trying to figure out how to tell her family and live her life as her complete self.  again, i don’t want to give too much away but it is very relevant and enlightening and sweet and all kinds of other warm and fuzzy things.  i would definitely recommend this book and i would love for more young people (with the opportunity to discuss the book with someone open-minded) to be able to read it as well.  naturally, it will not be on the shelves in my library considering where i live, but i still think it is a fantastic book.


The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

this book!!!  i can’t believe that i hadn’t read this book sooner!  i always said i “wasn’t into this type of book” but let me tell you – I LOVED IT!  it could even be one of my most favourite books of all time.  i could NOT put it down!!  i’ve been dabbling in mystery type books recently and i am SO glad that i read this one!!  if you haven’t read it – i HIGHLY recommend that you give it a shot.  it is a bit confusing at it comes as you from different perspectives but if you can get past that (and the fact that some of it is pretty messed up aka CRAY-ZEE) then i think you will love it too!


What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty – ABANDONED

this was all of those “if you have read the girl on the train” lists, and came recommended by some friends, so naturally, i wanted to give it a shot.  i tried.  and tried.  for 100 pages.  and i just couldn’t do it.  i don’t know if it was just getting too close to may and my brain couldn’t handle it or what, but i finally abandoned it after 100 pages of trying.  i may pick it up again some day.  i didn’t hate it.  i just wasn’t into it.  what can i say?!

may is SO weird.  wouldn’t you agree??  like as a teacher, may just holds this strange feeling?!  i think it’s so many things.  it’s almost the end-ness.  it’s there is still so much left to do-ness.  it’s dreading goodbyes to those who you have grown to love-ness.  it’s excitement for upcoming adventure-ness.  but then it leaves us (or some of us?  most of us?  just me?!) with this strange feeling.

i haven’t blogged.  clearly.

i haven’t really been reading all that much.  ugh.

i feel like i’ve been busy.

but i have no idea what i’ve been doing.


so i leave you with this…as a “where i’ve been” and “what i’ve been up to”:

i don’t think i’ve done one of these posts on the new blog, but i used to write these posts filled with random thoughts, or GEMS if you will…and i think that right NOW is the perfect time to get that up and running again 🙂 you’re welcome.  HA!

  • my cats are obsessed with me…especially when i return from vacation.  since i’ve been home from lebanon, they have basically been right beside me (or ON me) at all times.  it makes sleeping a bit more difficult than usual…


  • speaking of cats…my cats are still fighting.  there is a smaaaaaaaalllllll chance that they are fighting less?????  but they are still fighting!!  i hope that this stops soon…because how am i supposed to leave them for the summer if they are still like this?!  being a cat mom is hard, i tell ya!
  • there is a couple in our community who are due to have their baby any day now…or any minute now for that matter.  today, nory saw the daddy-to-be and suggested that EMILY might be a good name for the baby!!  how much do i love that girl?!  FOR REAL.
  • i bought a new nail polish yesterday and was inspired to get back into painting my nails.  shockingly, it was a colour i didn’t already have…a sort of light greenish, yellow??  in the pastel family??  i don’t know how to describe it, but i am going to try to be better at keeping my nails painted cause i really do love having them painted!
  • as you likely know, i am a huge fan of the avenues (the best shopping mall ever, that happens to be here in kuwait).  and just last week, avenues phase 4 opened!  and it is EPIC!!  as in totally amazing and breathtakingly beautiful.  i LOVE it.  so.  much.  here are just a few pictures, but i feel that you can’t even capture how amazing it is.  truly!  i went back a second time this week and i’m still obsessed!
  • i have a new coffee obsession.  it is an instant coffee but tastes fabulous and comes in the shape of a sweet little heart…fitting, since they are called COFFEE HEARTS!  anyway, the point is that they are cute.  and delicious.  and i’m super into them.  HA!
  • i’ve been watching ‘friends’ on netflix and although i didn’t watch it consistently when i was younger, i like it so much better this time around!  i just really feel like i can relate and i totally want to hang out with these friends…i think we would be great friends…you know?!

i must say, this was a GREAT reading month for me!  i don’t know why i got through so many books, but i am happy to report that this month i read SEVEN whole books!  i think that partly, my speed can be attributed to the fact that i read a couple of mystery/suspense/murder type books and they were SERIOUS page-turners!  also, i read two of the three books i posted about in my ‘GOALS’ post in january this month!!  woop!!  here’s what march brought to the bookshelf:


All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor

this was one i had kept to read from school before putting it on the bookshelf.  being in kuwait, there are some added censorship issues with books, especially in elementary school.  sometimes when we get new books, i read the synopsis and decide that i should probably take a closer look, just in case.   this junior novel was SUPER adorable and i am so glad that i read it.  i am also happy to report that it made it’s way to the shelf and i have had some students report back that they loved it as well!  it’s a sweet and easy read about a boy who was raised in a jail with his mom and it gives such a sweet perspective on family.  super cute read!


Rules by Cynthia Lord

i’ve been meaning to read this one for a while now and after a colleague read it in one sitting, i decided that it was TIME!  and it was definitely worth the read.  another easy junior novel but this time about a young girl and her brother who is autistic.  it’s really interesting to hear her thoughts on dealing with her brother and how she feels other people are toward him.  as an educator, it definitely hit home and i think that it was really well written and gives a clear picture of what living with someone with autism could be like.  a great book to help young people understand autism as well.  loved this one!


Girl Up by Laura Bates

this book wasn’t really what i was expecting, to be honest.  i had been wanting to read it for ages and i don’t really know WHAT i was expecting to be honest, but in some ways, it wasn’t this.  don’t ask lol anyway…it was good.  sort of like a self-help type book for teenage girls i guess.  and there were some really hilarious parts.  and many very honest parts (and sometimes graphic/explicit parts).  i think that reading it as a teen i would have been obsessed.


We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

i saw a mom from school reading this book.  she had just started it and said it was good so far.  the NEXT DAY she delivered it to me in the library to read.  i think it took me about two days and it was REALLY good.  super interesting and a definite page turner.  it isn’t my typical style of book but has opened up the doors to a new genre for me i think!  it was also written in an interesting style…a bit different and i had read reviews that some people hated the writing style.  i enjoyed it though and if definitely suited the story.  i would definitely recommend this one if you like mysteries!


Summerlost by Ally Condie

another one on my shelf at school to read before putting them out.  and i LOVED it.  it took a few chapters to really get into it but i was totally into the sweet storyline and relationships in this story.  it’s about a young boy and girl who are working at a theatre festival for the summer and there are a couple side-stories that really make it really easy to fall in love with the characters.  the different family stories make it seem like real life.  i think this super sweet read will be very popular in my library!


The Not So Subtle Art of Being a Fat Girl by Tess Holiday

as usual, i had read mixed reviews about this book, but i absolutely LOVED it.  i laughed out loud so many times and just felt like i could really relate to a lot of what was tess was talking about.  and not even just the parts about being over weight, but also because we are about the same age and some of the hilarious 80’s and 90’s trends really were amazing.  i think her message of self love is SO, SO important and she encourages women of all shapes and sizes to embrace what they have, love themselves, and be confident!  also, her hashtag, which has been used almost 3 million times, just might be my new fave: #effyourbeautystandards – L.O.V.E.


One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

my second murder mystery of the month…and i could NOT put it down!!  as in…reading in the car while my friends were in starbucks.  reading while i ate my lunch at school.  whenever i possibly could!!  i NEEDED to know who did it!!!! the suspense was killing me!! lol so i have decided that while i’m not into gore or anything super scary, i do love the mystery of trying to figure out who did something or how they did it.  the expression ‘page-turner’ couldn’t be more accurate and if you’re into that sort of thing, i would definitely suggest looking this one up!

a little glimpse of what’s up over here!  don’t forget to CLICK on the pics for a closer look!

HA! see what i did there?!

i have a love/hate relationship with pinterest.  sometimes i go on insane binges where i am obsessed with all pins.  ever.  and other times i forget that this fabulous site exists and don’t look at it for days.  it’s so strange.  but when i’m on it…i’m a scrolling fool…so many cute quotes and pics…it’s like a vortex of goodness!!  here are some examples of some recent(ish) pins (click on the pic for a better look!):


that’s just some of what i get sucked into.  so i’m wondering about the rest of you…DO YOU PINTEREST?!  what are your thoughts??  what do you spend hours scrolling though!?


this is me and a former student, salma, who holds a very special place in my heart.  seven years ago she passed away very suddenly, but it still feels like yesterday that she was in my kindergarten class in cairo.  i am so blessed to have taught her and gotten to know and love her and her family.  they opened their hearts to me and continue to do so.  salma will always be with me in some way…and i truly believe that she was brought into my life for a reason.

i imagine she would have been the most beautiful, kind, and caring young lady.  even as a young girl she was so compassionate and loving.  she was a gentle soul.  although i am sad that she is gone, i am so honoured to have known her.  special doesn’t even begin to describe her.


salma, i think of you often.  and i will always be grateful for the lessons that you have taught me.  it’s funny…i just looked up the meaning of your name and they say that one of the meanings is ‘STAR’.  i know you are up there, with all of the other stars, looking down on your family and taking care of them.  they love you and miss you more than you will ever know.  as do so many other people whose lives you touched in your time here with us.  forever and ever you will be missed, but never forgotten.  keep smiling, sweet girl.  i love you.  xo

p.s.  can you please pass along a BIG happy birthday to my aunt diamond for me?  thanks 🙂

since the new year, i have been doing REALLY well with drinking water!  i made it my goal to drink more water and with the help of my accountability buddy, shanice, we have both managed to KICK WATER’S BUTT!  after successfully drinking at least 3 litres every day at school, we have even started messaging each other on the weekends to make sure we are keeping up!  and it’s GREAT!  i feel SO much better.  i feel like my body needs it and is much happier when i drink a minimum of 3 litres.  and on days like today, when i was slow getting started, she reminds me to DRINK UP and stop making excuses!

sooooo…..if accountability buddies worked with water, it should work with other things right?!  as in…can it work with exercise?  can i MAKE IT WORK with exercise?  i need to get my butt moving.  i need to be more active.  and i do feel so much better when i do it.  today, i came home and was going to just sit around, maybe read or watch ‘friends’, but i was feeling anxious and decided that i would likely feel better if i got my butt off the couch and just GOT MOVING.  and guess what?!  it WORKED!  i covered the timer on the treadmill, put on ‘queer eye’ (aka most amazing make-over show EVER!) and the 30 minutes was up before i knew it!  so then, what’s stopping me from doing it more often??!!  it’s out in the universe now…so NO excuses!!  i’m going to try…but if we’re chatting, ASK ME if i’ve gotten up off my butt that day!!  please and THANK YOU!  xo