Dear First Year Teacher

Long time so see friends! I have been SOOOOO busy setting my classroom up. Between working, being in my classroom, and attempting to have some free time (seriously what is free time?? I feel like I will not know what it is until next summer), I just have not had time to blog. No empty promises here but you all WILL see my classroom soon: when it is all set up! No sneak peaks just yet:)

For this blog post I wanted to write a letter to future first year teachers. There is so much that they don’t teach you!!! And I am not blaming anyone for not teaching it to you!!! Most of it you just have to experience. However, I wanted to write a letter to hopefully provide some guidance, reassurance, and motivation! Here goes nothing!

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Dear Future First Year Teacher,

Helloooooooo, it’s me!! (*Cue Adele music*). It’s me, Miss DeClaireing Happiness! I am YOU. I wanted to write to you because I feel your excitement, frustrations, stress, confusion, and eagerness. Just like you, I’ve wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember and the time IS FINALLY HERE. I have my own class of students, my own classroom, my own teacher desk (!!!!!). We made it through our University courses, the dreaded edTPA (#BlessYou who didn’t have to do it), the interview process, graduation…maybe not all in that order! But we did it!!! If yew cen reed this, then yew ar a teecsher.

Right now, you might not feel fully prepared. Just this past week, I came across and thought of about 194729383 things that I never knew I had to worry about–classroom whiteboards, privacy folders, connecting your iPad to your projector, etc. I have been joking with colleagues that I should write a book about being a first year teacher (“What To Expect When You’re Expecting Your First Class of Students” lol should I????? Would you buy it????) Amongst all of these confusions and unknowings, I promise you that you are amazing and can do this! Your experiences and courses may not have told you what to do in these situations or that you have to think of these things, but they provided you the right mindset and knowledge to get you through it. And in the end, just know, you have a full class of kiddos that are counting on you and are rooting for you.

Your last week of summer, first week of training, and first day of school will have an array of emotions, but just know you have a great support system. You have faculty, teammates, family, friends, and/or an online teacher community here to help you shine. Never be afraid to ask questions!

Good luck you newbies!! With your passion for students, change, and love of learning, you will be amazing. I can’t wait to see what you do!

Sincerely,

A First Year Teacher

P.S. I’ll write to you on the last day of school too!!

Lost My Wisdom But Gained Some Sugar

Hi Everyone! I feel like I have not written in a while… I PROMISE I’m going to continue to write more and more frequently. I haven’t felt myself this past week because I lost some wisdom (lol just kidding)….just some wisdom teeth. There are so many exciting things that are going to be happening in the next couple of weeks and I want to keep you all updated on them! So stay with me🤗

Sooooo today would have marked my last day with no sugar: Day 21 of 21. The final day of cutting out that sneaky little sweetener. Tomorrow would have marked my day back into the “real world” where I wouldn’t have to worry about processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and could enjoy a nice scoop of ice cream. However….I have a confession to make. I only made it to Day 17/21😓 I have good reasons though!! And if I could have made it out to this day with no sugar, I would have. There were just some things happening that couldn’t let me!

I got my wisdom teeth removed last week! Prior to the removal, I had so many people applauding and questioning me on why I would not have sugar during the recovery process. Some would say “Wow, you are brave” or “Are you seriously not going to have ice cream afterwards?”. But I was determined! I had been shopping for no-sugar soft foods all week like sugar-free jello, applesauce, yogurt, and mashed potatoes. I made my own guacamole and smoothies filled with protein power to give me energy over my recovery time. However, I think I overestimated how quickly I would recover and my appetite.

This was the first time I had ever had surgery before and had ever had anesthesia. If you asked any of my family or close friends, they would tell you how nervous I was. I had never been put under before and did not know what it was going to be like. I am so thankful that everything went as expected and planned during the surgery, but the hours after the surgery were not my best. After some funny videos sent to friends and eating some of my sugar-free yogurt, I took all my medication: to reduce pain, swelling, and provide some antibiotics. I went straight to sleep and woke up a little nauseous. I asked my dad to get me some of my veggie-packed applesauce… but that didn’t help. Maybe it was an allergic reaction or maybe it was the things I was eating or maybe it was something else, but I had gotten sick. (I’ll spare the gross details)

I AM NOT KIDDING Y’ALL THIS WAS ONE OF THE WORST EXPERIENCES OF MY LIFE. First of all I hate throwing up to begin with, but second of all I could barely open my mouth because of my surgery! My dad definitely saw me at my lowest point lol. I wasn’t keeping anything down and none of my preplanned sugar-free foods were helping. Whenever I’m nauseous, I always like having some Gatorade to energize me up or whatever (I think it has some magical powers). At that moment, I knew that the sugar detox needed to be put on the back burner. My dad went out and got me some Gatorade and normal applesauce. I was beginning to feel better. The non-sugar foods did not seem appetizing though…they were almost a trigger to how I was feeling right after the surgery. I made the decision to stop the detox. I wish I could have gone on, but I think it limited the foods I could have post-surgery. Joel brought me a vanilla milkshake that night and all was right in the world…and my stomach.

I apologize for that long narrative, but that was me just explaining why I ended the sugar detox early. As this is my happiness blog and I love to share all things happy and positive, I do not want to dwell on what I didn’t do for this detox, but what I did. I MADE IT FAR PEOPLE. 17 days with no sugar?? 17 days with no gum, no ice cream, no artificial sweeteners, no sweeteners in fruit?? WOW. I am so proud. Here is what I learned/gained:

  1. I learned that I actually do have willpower. As much as I thought going into this detox that sugar was “controlling” my life, it is not. I am in control of what I can and can not eat. I have the power to say no to something sugary and yes to something whole and healthy. A lot of people during my detox said, “I could never do that”, but NO you can!! Have faith in yourself and challenge yourself. I didn’t think I was able to.. but hey, I went 17 days without it! Amazing! (Tbh I am also #proud because it has actually been 21 days without gum…can’t really chew gum when you have stitches in your mouth)
  2. I gained a new taste palate. Never before did I crave coconut, lemons, Granny Smith Apples, and tomatoes. While scrolling through my Pinterest, desserts with fruit in them actually look and sound DELICIOUS. Prior to the detox, I thought that fruits and vegetables should never be in dessert… they have their own food group and sweets is not it. Now, however, there are so many dessert recipes with fruit I want to try!!! Peach cobbler, strawberry shortcake, lemon bars!!! OH MY!
  3. I learned that sugar is not the greatest for you, but I probably won’t ever cut it completely out of my life…just have it in moderation. There are many natural alternatives to sugar like Stevia, Honey, Maple Sugar, and Coconut Sugar. These are all sweeteners I want to try to substitute in recipes. I’m not going to cut out sugar completely, but maybe I’ll do this detox another time or annually. Who knows? I would have to say that it was a fun challenge to look at ingredient labels, make recipes to replace my sweet tooth, and try new things… BUT it is good to be back to eating whatever I like…to some degree.
  4. I learned that if you want to eat healthy, you have to put the energy, time and money in. I wish there could be an easier or quicker fix, but I feel like all that is true. You have to put in the energy to motivate yourself to want to eat healthy and to help you beat cravings.  You have to put in the time to plan your meals, go grocery shopping, and make your meals. And sadly, you have to put in a little extra money. Some organic foods or healthy foods are more expensive. If you put in a little of those three things, I promise you will see and feel results!

If any of you are curious or are wondering if you should do this sugar detox, this is your sign to do it! Try it! Do it for 17 days. Do it for 3 days. Do it for 21 days. I fully support you and am here for advice, encouragement, and/or answers!! If any of you are thinking, “yeah that’s a big NO for me”, I challenge you to rethink and/or be a great support to others that want to try it. The best feeling during this detox was when someone was supportive and encouraging, rather than questioning and judgmental. I am deCLAIREing that I love when we can empower others, empower ourselves, and treat our bodies with care. Thank you for following along with me in this journey❤️ I must go now… there is a donut that is calling my name🍩

One More Week Until Ice Cream, Popcorn, Oreos, and Peanut Butter

Hi y’all!! I can not believe that I am writing this blog post after not having sugar for 2 weeks! Wow, times flies when you’re doing everything but eating sugar. I’ve had my cravings here and there, but overall I am proud of my progress. THIS GIRL HAS NOT CHEWED GUM IN 14 DAYS😱 😱 😱

I wish I could tell you that I have noticed drastic changes…but I think it’s my mind playing tricks on me. Every time I wake up having a good night’s sleep, I think, “This must be because I haven’t had sugar!!” Or when I do not have to put on as much concealer, I think, “Not having my daily cup of ice cream has made my skin clear up!!”. Maybe the “no sugar” might be the case, but I’ve had my ups and I’ve had my downs. For every couple of good night’s rest, I have had bad. For every clear face, I’ve had my fair share of breakouts. Not sure if this will make more sense in a week from today when I finish the detox, but this is not stopping me. I have made it past the halfway mark and I feel as though it’s all smooth-sailing from here….except for the fact I have to get my wisdom teeth out on Wednesday lol.

Now that I reflect, I feel as though my cravings this past week haven’t been for sugary treats… they have been for fruits or gluten products. While working at Loft, there are many times I want to grab a handful of our employee stash of pretzels. When I’m catching up on The Bachelorette with Trishy, I am craving some popcorn (#TeamGarrett #TeamKettleCorn).  Ever so often I really want some strawberries with whipped cream. I haven’t really craved ice cream or cookies or cake or donuts… all my cravings have been for foods that been limited on my detox because they have gluten. And now that I think about it, my almonds have been tasting sweeter, almond butter is starting to taste like peanut butter, bittersweet chocolate is not as bitter, and Granny Smith Apples are sweet (??)

Over the past week I have made some yummy recipes and have realized that I can go out and eat. (Going out to breakfast has been my favorite and has been the most delicious😋) I’m including my meals in this gallery below! Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions about what I am eating, how I feel, or for the recipes. I love sharing this journey with you all and challenge you to try to make a change in your eating habits! I’m looking forward to this final week and updating you all in 7 days!

It’s Been One Week Without SUGAR :O

Hello world!!! You are reading an article written by Miss Declaireing Happiness who has not had sugar in 7 days!!! I wonder if I write differently with no sugar in my body?? Hmmmmm, you all can be the judges of that.

Below is a day-by-day summary and photo summary of what it has been like not eating sugar. I’ve had good moments and I’ve had bad, but I want to keep all of you updated! I named each day with a phrase that defined the day and how I felt.

Day 1:”Woohoo, I Got This!!”

I was super excited this day!! After weeks of eating “bad”, I was ready for a change. Since I didn’t have to work, I dedicated this day to ME ❤️ I slept in late (lol 7 am is late for me), had an awesome workout at the gym where I pushed myself to run 3.5 miles on the treadmill (!!!! if u know me u know I hate running), and went on a teacher shopping spree at Target! Throughout the day, I did things that made me happy: suntanning, crafting, napping, and listening to music! I also fueled my body with foods that would make it happy!

Below is a picture of my menu for the day! I would have to say that I absolutely all the meals I had today ESPECIALLY THE HERB COCONUT FLOUR BISCUITS!!!! They tasted soooooo sweet, but have no artificial sweeteners in it!! If they taste this sweet on Day 1, I can’t imagine how sweet they’ll taste on Day 21.

I do not notice any changes with my health, sleep, or skin, but I wasn’t expecting this since this is Day 1. I did have a headache today, but I wasn’t sure if this was because I was dehydrated or due to my lack of sugar (??). Maybe I was thinking too much about it! I would say it was easy to make healthy meal choices since I was home and had time to prepare meals!

Day 2:”Okay this is cool!”

Day 2 was a tad different than Day 1! I slept sooooo nicely, but wasn’t sure if this was because I was really tired the night before or because my one-day detox of sugar. Whatever the case, I was excited to take on the day! I worked out in the morning and made myself a delicious scrambler of eggs, bacon, sweet potatoes, and cauliflower (I used the frozen mix from the dinner before). My menu is posted below 😋

Then, as I was preparing for my day, I couldn’t help to notice that I was a little tired. Before I took a shower, I attempted to nap. About 35 minutes later, I felt well rested and ready. After lunch time, I still felt a little tired so I closed my eyes for about 30 minutes before I had to leave for my drama class.

Throughout this Tuesday I questioned what was the cause of my tiredness: not sure if it was just my body wanting to be lazy and not take on the day or my body’s response to one day without sugar. Whatever the case, I did not let this get to me in the afternoon and I went on a shopping spree to Trader Joe’s. I had a set list of things I wanted to check out (eggs & cheese), but I also wanted to look through their packaged foods to see what had sugar and what did not. It’s really an eye-opening experience to see that practically everything has processed sugar. I am really tempted to open a restaurant or a grocery store after this that prepares and sells food that does not have sugar!! That would definitely make this detox easier and less like a scavenger hunt!!

Day 3: “Joel is walking on egg shells…”

Uh-oh, irritated, short-tempered Claire was starting to come out this morning & I apologize that @Joel had to witness it. Things were a little tense as I really just wanted to reach for a spoon and have spoonfuls of brown sugar lol. Joel and I decided to go on a walk to clear our minds of sugar…and it worked…Joel didn’t have to walk on egg shells anymore around me, because I was feeling better. My irritation lasted only in the morning, but I felt myself feeling very foggy and sluggish in the afternoon (thank you @Carrie for dealing with this fog!)

The menu is posted below for this day! I MADE YUMMY APPLE DONUTS. THEY ARE MY FAV!!!!! This was also the first time I went out for a meal on the detox (hey @Kell that was really fun!!!!). I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find something approved, but we went to Panera and I was able to do some research before eating there. I guess this will be something annoying or time-consuming that I have to do, but hey, at least I didn’t have to prepare a dinner for this night!

I would say that so far this was not one of my favorite days in terms of how I felt as I was tense in the morning, foggy in the afternoon, and CRAVED sweets late at night. I so badly wanted some kettle corn or 100,928,921,244,534 Oreos!! Upon going to bed, I knew that tomorrow would be a new day and I couldn’t wait for it!

Day 4: “Let’s keep venturing to different grocery stores!!”

From the title of this day, you can tell what I was doing the whole morning before work. For some reason on this day, I was especially excited to go around to different grocery stores to see if there was something I was missing. Nowadays, my grocery visits take a little longer as I am scanning the ingredients to see if the food is approved. I was excited to go to Whole Foods this morning and take my time.

*****Side note….Whole Foods has become even more amazing to me because I receive Amazon Prime DEALS!!! And on this day, since I spent over $10, I received $10 towards an Amazon Prime Day purchase! Reallllyyyy hoping they have some Beats Headphones #FingersCrossed

Today was when it hit me that I had been making all my meals for the past 4 days: no frozen foods, no take-outs, no pre-made dinners…it was ALL me. I was kind of getting tired of cooking and wanted to see if there was any ready-made or quick meals I could have. I found some chicken sausage that was approved! I decided to save this for when I was feeling really lazy, needed a last-minute meal, or wasn’t sure what I wanted to eat. My meals were super yummy today and can be found below!

I was happy I worked in the afternoon & had plans at night to distract me from my sugar cravings. Again, they hit me hard. I soooo badly wanted to make some kettle corn, grab some sweet BBQ chips, or some cookies & cream ice cream. The distractions helped me take my mind off of food. I would definitely recommend finding a distraction when you start this detox. Mine is usually go on a walk with Joel, go up in my room and read/watch TV, work, go shopping (lol), or just getting out of the house!

Day 5: “Hey, I can eat out!!!!! This is awesome!!” 

Woohoo! I was so happy I was able to eat breakfast out with my family!! I found out where we were going ahead of time and planned out my breakfast. To be honest, I was craving this since the day before when I read the menu. I got a skillet with sweet potatoes, cheese, apples, ham, and two poached eggs. For a side, I ordered avocados. My mouth is still drooling from this meal. It was awesome that I was still able to go out with my family and enjoy a meal. Yes, I had to do a little research before, but who cares!

Here is a menu of my day! I did not notice any drastic changes in my health or personality. I did have a sudden energy burst and decided to bike to the post office to drop off a package, which is 4 miles from my house. I saw my friend that afternoon and she said I had way more energy today than two days before…so hey, maybe things are happening (?).

Day 6: “How can I make desserts into non-sugar things?”

My sugar cravings were hitting me SO HARD!!! I wanted anything sweet I could get my hands on! Joel and I started watching this show called Nailed It–which honestly might have been a bad idea when you are on a sugar detox–and it’s all about people recreating baking works of art! I was craving a cake pop and I HAVE NEVER CRAVED A CAKE POP IN MY LIFE.

With this, I knew that I needed something sweet or something to replace a sweet craving. I looked through my detox book & found a recipe for banana coconut ice cream. The recipe only called for bananas and coconut oil (I added some coconut milk to make it creamier). Honestly, it wasn’t anything near the wonders of ice cream..but it did the trick! Joel and I were able to enjoy two bowls of this while watching a movie. It made me feel like we were eating dessert again.

A little out of order, but Joel and I made delicious cauliflower crust pizzas that curbed my sweet tooth before the ice cream. I made a homemade sauce that was so yummy and thick and added lots of cheese so the pizza tasted really dense and filling. I was very full and replenished after this meal! My menu is posted below:)

Day 7: I CAN’T BELIEVE I HAVEN’T CHEWED GUM IN 7 DAYS!?”

Just like the title of the day explains, I can’t believe I have gone this long without chewing gum!!! It is amazing. I did go a while without eating sweets during this past Lent season, but I still ate processed sugars and gum. This has been the longest I have gone without chewing my cinnamon gum in forever!! I am so proud of myself and the work that I have done. I’m 1/3 of the way there…the rest can’t be too much harder right?!

After doing some research in my book, they say that you really start seeing the benefits after day 10. Well, I only have 3 more days until that and nothing is stopping me!! Here is my menu for today! I was able to go to my favorite Mexican restaurant with Joel & his family. The hardest part was not being able to eat the corn tortilla chips BUT I DID IT PEOPLE!!!! This day was just full of proud moments and I can’t wait to feel the satisfaction of going 21 days without sugar. BRING IT ON!

These Are A Few of My Favorite #21DSD Things…

  • Apple Donuts–I AM A DONUT QUEEN. Not being able to have these sugary goodnesses over the next 21 days was making me feel not as happy during breakfast time. However, after looking through my #21DSD guide, I found this AMAZING apple donut recipe. I am making sure to have one every morning to fuel up and pretend I’m eating something sweet💕
  • Coconut Drop Biscuits–Another amazing recipe from the #21DSD guide. In my opinion, these taste exactly like the biscuits from Red Lobster but they are so healthy for you and have no sugar!! I have used these biscuits as sides for dinner and buns for sandwiches. Definitely need to make these weekly!!

Thank you for following along with me on my journey and my no sugar journey! I want to update you all weekly, but please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or comments! I love answering questions and hearing about what you all have to say! I am deCLAIREing that this sugar detox has made me happy so far!

Bye Bye Sugar! See you in 21 Days!

Hi All!! I hope everyone has been having a great weekend and had a wonderful 4th of July!

After reading the title, here are some thoughts that probably ran through your head!

  • Bye sugar?!?! What’s happening to sugar!!
  • Are you eliminating sugar Claire?! How can you do that?!
  • 21 days? That’s a random number!
  • HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY DO THAT YOU HAVE A SWEET TOOTH GIRL???

I have to admit, those thoughts ran through my mind when I was told I might want to try a sugar detox. Over the past couple of months I have felt addicted to sugar, craving sweets all hours of the day and after a FULL meal. I always joke that I have a separate stomach for dessert and these past couple of weeks have proved that! However, after giving in to my cravings and my second stomach, I would find myself bloated, sluggish, always tired (but unable to fall asleep), and developing bad, almost painful acne. After doing some research and talking to some medical experts/nutritionists, I was recommended the 21 Day Sugar Detox by Diane Sanfilippo (Info on 21 DSD)

I first checked out this book from my local library a week ago and then decided to buy my own copy off of Amazon (21 DSD on Amazon). This book includes the benefits of a sugar detox, what you can expect over the three weeks, a YES/NO food list, sample recipes and menus, and approved/recommended brands. It’s an awesome guide!!

So yes–officially starting tomorrow, but slowing starting today–I will be cutting sugar out from my diet. Not just sugar from sweets, but processed sugars too! I found a picture on Livestrong.com that provided 67 other names for sugar on an ingredients list. Companies are tricky, but I am catching on to them!!!!

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Over the next three weeks, I will be watching out for these words above on food labels and choosing to eat whole, real foods. For this specific detox, most fruits are posted on the “no” list, but I can gradually start adding them back into my diet. The purpose of this detox is to reset your taste buds and curb your cravings, so it does not want your body to have any sort of sugars. Some of the benefits of this detox include resetting your tastebuds so you taste the natural sugars in foods, more energy during the day, eliminating your cravings, clearer, brighter skin, and better nights sleep!

Lol I’m sorry but I am going to be that annoying girl over the next 3 weeks that is going to be checking every food label at the grocery store, specifically choosing restaurants that adhere to these food restrictions, and/or questioning waiters, waitresses, and grocery store workers with how food is prepared! JUST PLS BEAR WITH ME!!!!😛

How have I prepared for this detox you might ask? 

  1. I read the book 21 Day Sugar Detox by Diane Sanfilippo to really understand what I am doing and why I can expect. In this guide book, you really learn how sugar is processed in your body and the short-term and longer-term effects of sugar addictions.
  2. I have planned out my meals for the week using this book and other recipes on Pinterest. I have visited 5 different grocery stores (Trader Joe’s, Marianos, Whole Foods, Sunset Foods, and Heinen’s) to buy these ingredients and to load up on approved go-to snacks. Some of my go-to snacks are Justin’s Almond Butter packets, almonds, pistachios, Larabar Apple Pie Bars, banana chips, unsweetened applesauce, and raw vegetables with guacamole or hummus.
  3. Finding a buddy, AKA Joel lol, to try to do this with me! He is going to follow along with this detox, but not as strictly as me since he has allergies to some nuts and raw vegetables. Even if he does not follow it completely with me, it’s good to have a support system!
  4. Asking opinions and reading articles from others who have tried this detox (Thank you so much for your help/tips @TaylorBreiter and the cool website @Mr.Markby). Alsssoooo, if anyone has any more tips and pointers please do not hesitate to comment or reach out!

I hope to update you all weekly or maybe even more often during this detox as I feel it will be a great way to track my progress and feelings! I think one of the hardest things about this detox is explaining why I am doing it! Some people already have questioned me. However, I am doing this for me, for my health, and for my overall well-being! Any support or encouragement would be appreciated☺️❤️ Thank you for following along with me on my journey!!! I hope in the near future that this 21DSD is something that I will be deCLAIREing that makes me happy!!!!!!

~Just a Splash of [Water] Color~

Hi Everyone! Happy July! Can you believe it is already July? I definitely can not. Happy Almost 4th of July! What are your plans?

Tonight I am going to a local fireworks show with my family and Joel. I am super excited! I am in the process of baking some festive cookies and I made some red, white, and blue puppy chow🐶❤️

Tomorrow I am headed to a BBQ with Joel & his family and then we are going to see some more fireworks in our hometown! I love how festive the beginning of July is… to be honest…I am just coming to this conclusion now as I am typing…July is one of my favorite months. You can always count on July for being super warm and summer-like. (Lol here in the Midwest, you can never count on May and June being warm!!! July has never let me down!) It actually feels like summer in July and I love it😋

One way I have been celebrating the month of July is preparing my desktop screen! I recently received my school laptop (#WOOHOO #SOOFFICIAL) and was customizing & personalizing it! For my personal laptop, I always enjoy having pictures of Joel & I, my family, and my friends, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do this for my school laptop. I wanted something cute and could keep me organized, so BAM this is when an idea popped in my head!!! I decided to make my own desktop wallpaper. I thought that this could be something that I would share and something that I could do monthly. In my dream world, I could see my future fifth graders excited at the end of each month to see what Miss Donahue’s laptop screen would look to start the new month. They would say “Oh Miss Donahue what is it going to be?!?! I’m so excited!!” Lol I know I know… I said “dream world”. Not sure if fifth graders will get excited about their teacher’s laptop screen but who knows!

To begin, I started brainstorming #JulyThings. I thought of the Fourth of July, sunshine, the pool, bathing suits, everything summer lol. Then I thought of…watermelon ðŸ‰ðŸ‰Watermelon is super yummy and watermelon graphics are easy to make… right?! You just paint a pink triangle, with a green border, and some black dots for seeds. Yeah so my graphics were not turning out the greatest. I did NOT like their look. They looked so “clip-art-y” if that is even a thing. Sooooo I went on Google Images. I googled Watermelon graphics and all these cute watercolor watermelons came up. That got me thinking…

“I’ve ALWAYS wanted to learn how to create watercolor images on Adobe Illustrator. I always see watercolor graphics on Teachers Pay Teachers, blogs, instagram, you name it… HOW ON EARTH DO PEOPLE DO IT?!”

I did some more researching (lol research is the name of the game… THANK GOODNESS for the Internet!) and found an easy way to make watercolor graphics. This way did not require you to virtually make the watercolor designs, but paint the watercolor designs in real life! I’ve always been a fan of watercoloring so I was super excited!!

I went through my mom’s craft room and found watercolor paper and watercolor paint. Next, I put on some Netflix and began crafting away! I painted a watermelon, saying of “one in a melon”, and some paint line strokes. I also painted an entire pink background that I was thinking I could use for the actual desktop background.

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From my research, I learned that you can simply scan in your watercolor paintings into the computer and save them as a JPEG! After brightening the picture up a tad and adding some more saturation, here was my virtual watercolor graphics:

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I might just be super obsessed or a little annoying…BUTTTTTTT….HOW. COOL. IS. THIS?!?! For all these years I thought that some graphic designers or Internet users were creating watercolor online, but they could simply be painting in real life and scanning it in!! I KNOW WHAT I AM GOING TO BE DOING IF I’M NOT WORKING LOL. This was SO fun and I was able to make a graphic that I actually wanted and liked. I used these new watercolor graphics to create a new desktop wallpaper! Check it out🤗 Feel free to download/copy/save it to be your desktop wallpaper! This is a freebie I created with my own graphics & the fonts of A Perfect Blend (https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/A-Perfect-Blend)

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I’m so excited to continue using this new skill I learned. I’m going to make monthly wallpapers & send some out to you all! I am declaireing that learning new crafting skills always makes me happy and excited💕🍉 Does it get you excited?? Thanks for following along!

******I will be uploading a video shortly to YouTube (I found out with my last video it takes like 5 years) that teaches you how you can scan your watercolor designs or pretty much any design to your computer! I will teach you how to single out your image and make it transparent & how you can use it to create a wallpaper or any other project!

These Are A Few Of My FAVORITE Things…

Swoop necks from Target 
And sharing an appetizer & entrée 
Netflix’ Jane the Virgin and dry shampoo hairspray 
Wordscapes, Ripple Milk, and a color MAC’s lipstick brings 
These are a few of my favorite things.

Did you hum “My Favorite Things” from Sound of Music? If you did not, please go back and do that now!!! I know, I know, some of the lines are a little wordy. But hey, I’m not a songwriter…I’m a blogger!! If anyone rewrites this in a way that uses all of these favorite things in a less wordy, goes with the music more way, please do not hesitate to share.

I wanted to dedicate this blog post to a few of my favorite things. As I was brainstorming the topic for this week’s blog post, I was trying to think of some things that make me happy, make my life easier, #lifehacks, or that I could write on and on about. My favorite things are always changing, like life, so this is my current list! In no particular order–just the order that it made sense in the song–here they are.

1.) Swoop necks from Target 

I recently discovered these swoop neck tees from Target and I’m obsessed!!! They are so comfy, come in many different colors, and are only $8! I bought 2 whites ones (because I already know they are my favorite & I am messy and don’t want to spill/ruin them), a black one, and a gray one (that I actually used my Cricut machine and ironed on a graphic). I so happen to be wearing my black tee right now as I type. These shirts are perfect with skirts AND shorts AND jeans. You can dress them up or dress them down with your jewelry and shoes. And did I mention… they are $8… and I bought them when Target had a deal for 3 for $20! GO AND GET YOURS KNOW! Here’s a link too:) Target Swoop Necks

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My BFF Tricia!!!

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2.) Sharing an appetizer & entrée 

Okay… why did Joel and I just discover this trick like two days ago??? What took us so long??? Sharing an appetizer & then an entrée is one of my favorite things to do (and Joel’s) because it’s cheaper, gives you a variety of food options, and I never finish an entrée anyways!! We discovered this trick after we went out for Mexican food and wanted to get queso, margaritas, and tacos. All together the bill came out to be like $60. I don’t want you to think we are some cheapos or something, but we don’t have that much money to be buying $60 meals once or twice a week when we want to go out. And we both ended up taking 3/4 of our plates home because the appetizers filled us up! After that, we decided on a new strategy. The next time we went out, we split an appetizer and a meal. By the time the meal came, we both had eaten enough of the appetizer to split the meal. I ate about 1/3 of the meal (#PERFECT for my appetite) and Joel ate 2/3. It’s amazing!! Our bank accounts are thankful too!! You should give it a try next time you go on a date night or out to dinner with a friend!!

3.) Netflix’ Jane The Virgin 

Want to watch a show that will make you laugh, gasp, scream, think, cry, become frustrated, be confused, and smile??? ALL IN ONE EPISODE?? Then you definitely need to watch Jane the Virgin. Lucky for you, all four seasons of Jane the Virgin are on Netflix and the fifth season is going to be airing in January (#FingersCrossedBecauseSeason4EndsOnACliffHanger #ActuallyAllSeasonsEndOnCliffHangers #MostEpisodesEndOnCliffHangersToo #TheyAreJustTOOGood). Like I am trying to summarize the show for you right now but I can’t even summarize it because I feel like I would be ruining it!! PLEASE just trust me and go watch it! You won’t regret it!! All the characters are hilarious and there is a storyteller in the background. It is like a telenovela (Spanish Soap Opera) so you’re always on your toes!!

4.) Batiste Dry Shampoo 

I’m not sure how you pronounce the brand, but what I am sure about is this product works WONDERS. Before I discovered this dry shampoo, I would wash my hair everyday. Yes, I washed my hair EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I would do this because my hair would look so greasy if I did not. Little did I know, but my hair was greasy because I washed my hair everyday lol. When I first used this brand, I was AMAZED. What I like is when you spray this in your hair, it turns it gray; lol noooo I do not want gray hair, I like the gray because you know where you are applying it and it “fades” your greasy spots. Then, you just rub it in really good and you can say goodbye to the grease! It also adds volume to your hair and leaves it smelling good. You would never know you didn’t wash it. Last week I didn’t wash my hair for 4 days🙊 That is a RECORD for Claire Donahue!!! I have saved so much time styling my hair & now I finally feel like I am in control. Before, I felt like my hair was the boss as I would spend like an hour blow drying and styling it each day. Thank you thank you thank you @batiste!!!! Look them up and try them out!! I have bought them at Walmart, Ulta, and in-bulk using my Amazon Prime Batiste Dry Shampoo

5.) Wordscapes 

This is my favorite app/game on my phone!! I learned about it from my brother’s girlfriend (TYSM @Katie). We played this game a lot when we were standing in the long ride lines of Disney World. There is a word puzzle and you are given a certain amount of letters (I think 5-7 depending on your level) and you have to put the letters together to fill your puzzle–which looks like a crossword puzzle. This game tests your knowledge of words and guessing-and-checking lol. It’s called “wordscapes” as the word puzzles are in front of various nature landscapes. You earn coins after every level which unlocks you “hints” if you are really stuck on a level. Everyday there is a daily puzzle which can give you many coins if you do it correctly!! I’m on level 273. No big deal or anything!!!

6.) Ripple Milk

Let me start off by saying that I do not like milk. Maybe I drank too much of it as a child, or maybe because we only ever drank Skim Milk in my household, which I heard is equivalent to water by milk fanatics (lol @Joel). However… one of my dad’s clients is Ripple Milk, so he brought some home for us to try. My dad first bought the chocolate Ripple Milk and I was IN LOVE 😍 It tasted like yummy, chocolate, syrup goodness!!!! And the nutrition facts were amazing too. Ripple Milk is a plant-based milk that is dairy free, vegan, lactose free, nut free, soy free, gluten free, AND GMO free!!!! AMAZING!! It has 8g of protein & has 50% more calcium than regular dairy milk. I LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!!! I’ve tried all of the flavors and they are all so yummy. Right now, I have the unsweetened original in my fridge and it is amazing and low cal. Please everyone go do yourselves a favor and switch over to Ripple Milk!!!! I’ve bought it at Whole Foods and Marianos! And @RippleMilk if you are reading this… I LOVE YOU❤️ Here’s the link to their website so you can learn more!! Ripple Milk

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 7.) MAC’s Creme In Your Coffee Lipstick 

So your girl Miss DeClaireing Happiness is a lipstick fanatic. I have worn all different kinds and colors of lipsticks, but now I found my favorite one and I can’t stop using it!!! It is Creme In Your Coffee by MAC. This is a darker, neutral color that goes with literally any outfit. It feels like cream when I put it on because it is so smooth. The color is also super long lasting…and definitely worth the $18.50. Check it out online and on my lips in these pictures lol Creme In Your Coffee

Well, thank you for listening to me obsess and passionately write about my favorite things. What are your favorite things? I would love to try them!! Be sure to comment and share or message me! I am MissDeclaireing Happiness and I am deCLAIREing that these 7 things make me real happy and I hope they make you happy too 😋