Tuesday, May 31, 2011

2 Days

It's Tuesday and I have two days left before I fly home!!  I wanted these last couple of posts, while here in Panama, to be about my time here.  I first want to share two songs with you that we are jammin' to right now!  We are playing these songs out right now on the beach and at the pool...enjoying a few choice drinks!  :)  These will forever remind me of my time here and how much fun I've had!  We NEVER stop the party here! 

Another Black Eyed Peas!  :)

This one just makes me want to DANCE!!

I wanted to share a few pictures of where I have been for the last 10 months.  The community that we live in is a beach front community and one where very wealthy people from Panama City come in to spend the weekend at their beach house.  It is not uncommon to see people arriving in helicopters.  These are just a few pictures of some houses on the beach here.

This is one of my favorite houses in the community...I watched this one get built while I've been here.  I could do some serious entertaining here!  :) 
There is another picture of the side of the house that I took below. 

This is the side of the house from the picture above.  One of my favs!

I will post more tomorrow.  I hope everyone had a great day!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!


I hope everyone is having a fabulous Saturday!  This weekend is the official start to summer and it is so exciting!  There is nothing better than enjoying the summer with family and friends eating, swimming, and making memories!  I can't wait to get back home to enjoy all of those wonderful things!  :)

My amazing find today came when I was watching some cooking show while I was eating lunch and heard the music on the program.  I waited until the credits rolled and then found out who it was...Matt Costa!  He was signed to Jack Johnson's (who I love too!) label, which gives you an idea of what his music sounds like.

For your viewing and listening pleasure I have put a video below!  I hope you enjoy it and let me know what you think...I know I will be blasting this while driving around this summer and hanging out at the pool!!


I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day and weekend!  Eat lots and stay cool!   BYE!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Royal Style

We made it to Friday!!  WOO HOO!!  This is my last weekend here in Panama!  Can't believe it!

Ok, so when I get home I won't be writing about my adventures from Panama any longer and so I'm going to have to start writing about things that I find interesting or like.  This is my practice post for sharing somethings I like.  :)

As I have written about before, I have always been fascinated by the Royal Family and find myself even more so because Kate is involved now.  I have always loved seeing what celebrities and friends are wearing and I am happy to be sharing my thoughts with you!!  Yesterday I was so excited when they released the pictures of Kate when her and the fam met President Obama and Michelle.  I was even more excited to see her dress.  Yeah, yeah, it may be really simple but I LOVE it!  I just adore the nude color.

I also put some pictures of Kate's sister Pippa because I really like her style too.  I absolutely LOVED the dress she wore for the Royal Wedding and then loved the one she wore for the reception even more (the color was beautiful)!  They both have amazing style that is both timeless and classy and I can't wait to see more pictures of their amazing style!

Just to note this is my first collage thingy I have ever done for my blog with pictures and it is too small for my liking.  Can anyone help me with figuring out how to put images together that shows the actual image and then having their link attached...does that make sense?  If not, please message me and I will explain further.  Thanks so much and I hope everyone has a great Friday and blessed weekend! Ciao!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Can't believe it...

Happy Thursday everyone!!  I hope everyone is having a great week!  I CAN NOT believe I will be coming home next week!  It has been such an amazing 10 months living abroad, but I am definitely excited about coming home and being with all of my family and friends and hopefully getting back into the classroom teaching again! 

We have had an interesting, to say the least, week.  Last Wednesday, at around 1:30 in the afternoon, the power went out.  This happens all the time due to the construction that's been going on with more condos and the golf course that they are building here in the community.  If it's not the electricity that goes out then it is the water, and the water usually conveniently goes out around 7:30 in the morning after I get back from the gym.  :) That's another story though...anyway, so the power goes out and we think it will come back on sometime later in the afternoon.  We decided to go and hang out at the Casa Club (the beach club) and there was a HUGE surge of water that came with high tide.  This was the highest they have ever seen it come up and I took and some pics.

 At the Casa Club...this patio area is where chairs are usually laid out.

 This is a different area of the beach...what we call the Bohios (you can see them in the distance)...

 The water was coming up over the road and pouring into the lake.  Amazing!

So with the excitement of the high tides and still no power when we got back to the house around 6 o'clock, we wanted to make sure we had all gotten showers before there would be no lights after sunset at 6:30.  We ended up taking showers, eating dinner, and then heading over to the hotel to get some dessert (YUM!) and hang out because the hotel runs on a generator and it wasn't much fun walking around the house with candles not being able to do anything.  We came back home to a dark house and slept through the night.  On Thursday, there was still no sign of electricity.  We ended up doing a little school until all the DVD players died and couldn't be recharged.  So we ended up going to the pool for the rest of the afternoon in hopes that the power would be on when we returned later that afternoon...NO SUCH LUCK.  (The funny thing about all of this is whenever we would talk with someone about the outages, they would tell us that it would only be three more hours until it would get turned back on.)  HAHA!!! Yeah, right!  More like around 48 hours!!  So we ended up going back to the hotel for more dessert...haha!!  And then the manager of the hotel ended up offering us a complimentary nights stay at the hotel.  We took that offer up and had a FABULOUS nights sleep!!  Another interesting point to make is that I have not had air conditioning in my room the entire time I've been here in Panama and it was so nice to have a room around 67 degrees when we stayed at the hotel and being able to get on the internet while lying in bed!!  :)  So on Friday morning, after our amazing complementary breakfast, we decided to head to the other beach house in Pedasi.  We came back to the house to gather our belongings and low and behold...the power was back on!!  :)  We ended up leaving anyway and had a great time out in Pedasi (that would be my last trip out there)!

I had promised you guys pictures of our amazing walks in Pedasi and I took a few.  The day that I took my camera with us on our walk it decided to rain.  You won't be able to get the full effect of the views but trust me they are the most spectacular views I have ever seen!

 This is just to show you the rocks we have to climb.  So fun!

 We always walk at low tide because we like to pick up shells.  High tide covers all of this area. 

So beautiful!

 Sponge on the rocks...

We usually climb up the hill you see leading up to the cliff area, but we decided to climb on the rocks to another beach area.

We found this cave...this was really cool, but I was afraid a snake would come and get me!

I am not sure if I have mentioned the howler monkey's that are around the house in Pedasi, but there is one monkey that has been around ever since the house was being built.  He found himself a girlfriend and now there are two howler monkey's. :)  They make the most unique sound and are VERY loud at around 6 in the morning!  Here is a picture of just one them...this guy was hanging out in a tree behind the house.  He was literally on his back lying in the tree, but then he spotted me trying to take a picture and got up.  :(  I was sad I disturbed him, but wanted to get a picture of him.  So cool!

Howler Monkey!

Hope you enjoyed reading and looking at all the pics!  It's still so crazy to me I only have one more week of living in Panama and then it's back to Sharpsburg, GA!  :) 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Innocent Until Proven Guilty...

Happy Tuesday!!!  I have just finished a great book called House Rules by Jodi Picoult.  It took me a couple of weeks to get through this one, but it was well worth it.  This book is surprisingly different from all of my Nicholas Sparks books that I have read while being here and was nice to have a change of pace from all the lovey dovey stuff (even though I will begin on another Nic Sparks book this week...don't judge!).  :)

To tell you a little about the book, it was about an 18 year old boy, Jacob, who has Asperger's syndrome.  If you are unfamiliar with Asperger's it is on the autism spectrum.  Asperger's is more of a high funtioning type of autism that, even though the individuals have high IQs and can function properly, effects things such as social interaction and understanding what other people are feeling or going through (a  little thing we know as empathy).  The boy, along with his family, finds himself in a bind due to him being convicted of murder.  I won't tell you anymore just in case you read it...which I highly suggest you do!

The most interesting character in this book to me is the defense attorney, Oliver.  I know my family is laughing about this one, because in the past I have had close ties with a defense attorney.  It was always interesting (and a little unnerving) to me how someone could defend a so-called criminal not really knowing the "truth" about that person's offense.  I give serious props to Oliver in the book because he is faced with serious difficulties due to the special needs of his client. 

I remember having all sorts of questions and asking about these things, which probably drove the person I knew half crazy, but that's another story.  :)  How can you defend someone you may think is guilty?  Does the person who is being convicted actually tell you that they are guilty or not guilty?  Do you morally feel wrong knowing you may be defending a true criminal?  These seem to be "normal" questions for someone who isn't used to defending criminals. :)  In the book, Oliver does a lot of going back and forth about what he believes and doesn't even really want to know what Jacob has really done, surprisingly this was the same response I would get from the person I knew.  How could you not want to know though?  It would drive me crazy not knowing for sure whether that person committed the crime or not, and then on top of that me having to get everyone in the courtroom to believe that they are innocent or try to get them a lesser (is this even a word?) punishment.  I guess that's why I'm not a defense attorney!  :) 

I hope you will check out this book and if you do read this let me know what your thoughts are.  I promise my next post will be something exciting about me doing something here in Panama and not a boring book review...HAHA!!  Bye for now!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

I Dare You!

Hi everyone!!  It has been awhile since I have posted due to us being out of town for a week.  I am glad to be back in Buenaventura and can't believe I have only 2 weeks left here in Panama!

I wanted to write today about things that have been shared with me over the last couple of months that I think are amazing!  To start off with I want everyone to know that I am single as single can be and have never been happier in my life.  I have had some great relationships in the past and have come to learn that those people were in my life for certain reasons, but God didn't want me to be with those particular people for an extended amount of time.  I have spent the last year, being single, and allowing my relationship with God to grow.  He has become the most important Man in my life and I'm comforted just knowing that someone will come into my life when He is ready.  :)  Now with that said, I want to share with you that most of my friends are in serious relationships or married and it has been amazing to see these relationships grow and be there for my friends during the hard times and also during the amazing times!  I talk with one of my best friends, Danielle, all the time about relationships and with her being married and me being single it amazes me at how well we can communicate about this particular subject.  Danielle has shared some great things with me, one in particular is from the church she attends.  While being here in Panama I have missed my church from back home so much, but it has been nice to see sermons on the internet from Danielle's church in Charlotte.  Her church is called Elevation and right now they are doing a particular series on relationships called Mr. and Mrs. Betterhalf.  I am going to post the link below for anyone who wants to check it out.  They are in their third week of the series and it is awesome!  Let me know what you think if you do check it out.

Mr. and Mrs. Betterhalf 

A few months back, while I was at the gym watching HBO, trying to get through my cardio, a movie came on (which is my favorite because then I don't realize how long I've actually been working out).  :)  Anyway, the name of the movie was Fireproof.  I think there are many people who are familiar with this movie, but if you are not then you definitely need to watch it.  I was really into the book that is used in the movie, and even though I am not married or in a relationship myself I think that this was such a great thing.  I found on another young lady's blog the actual book that is used in the movie.  The book is called The Love Dare and it is a year long devotional type book that uses positive thinking as a way of coming together to strengthen and appreciate your relationship again.   I hope that you will watch the movie and even think about the book and possibly taking The Love Dare.

Now I know you are probably wondering, why is Nicole writing about relationship issues when she is single.  Well to tell you the truth I have always enjoyed reading about relationships and I think that it is great for me to study and read about things whether they pertain to being single or in relationships to get a clear view and idea about what I want for my future.  I am no way trying to tell people how to run their relationships, because believe me I have had many fail, but I did want to share these great things with everyone so that they could use them if need be.  :)

I hope everyone has a great Monday!  And please feel free to share any other things that may have helped you get through hard times whether single or not!  :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

How Can You Not Love It...

I hope everyone is having a great day!  We are in Panama!  We have 8 more days of school left and that is exciting to both the kids and me!  :)

As most of you know, teaching is not the easiest job in the world and one that I personally feel does not get the recognition it deserves (of course I feel that way, I'm a teacher).  I wanted to share with you a story that touched my heart and yes, made me cry. 

My grandparents give me the gift of a Guidepost subscription every year either for my birthday or Christmas, but it is just recently that I have really began reading them and enjoying their inspirational stories.  Most of the stories in the magazine touch my heart, but this particular one was so amazing.  It made me stop and think about the reasons why I became a teacher in the first place. The person in this story is truly an inspiration to not only teachers, but I hope to everyone.  I am going to put the link below and I hope you read it.  Please share with me your thoughts too.  :)

Guidepost Story

I hope everyone has either gotten their Mother's Day gift or you are thinking about what you want to get for your amazing Mommy's!  I know I have...it should be arriving in the mail any day now!  :)  I hope everyone has a great day!  Bye!

Monday, May 2, 2011

101 Things List

I saw this awesome idea on another young lady's blog and I decided what the heck I'm going to do it too.  :)  This is a list of 101 things I will hopefully get done or accomplished in 1,001 days.  It was A LOT harder to come up with 101 things (and as you can see I'm not at 101 yet), and I got stuck around 85ish.  When I would tell my friends and family about me doing this their response was..."You have a lot of time on your hands!"  haha, but I thought this was a great way to actually put on paper the things that need to be or that I would like to accomplish.  I began writing them down at the beginning of April and worked on the list throughout the month.  I will be updating my list every time I get done with something.  You may laugh at some of the things I have listed, but these are things that I would like to do.  :)  A lot of these things involve my Mom or my sweet Bailey boy!

Why don't you try to make your own list and see how well you get through it and how difficult it is to think of 101 things to do...haha!  Share with me your thoughts!

  1. Find a job
  2. Come up with a better name for my blog
  3. Post 200 blogs on my blog
  4. Move out of my parent's house
  5. Trade in BMW and Mazda for a more fuel efficient, cheaper SUV
  6. Complete a triathlon
  7. Go camping
  8. Hike
  9. Go to Colorado in the summer time
  10. Go to Colorado in the winter time
  11. Begin going to Sunday School
  12. Begin attending Bible study groups at church
  13. Cook new things for friends and family
  14. Host a pot luck dinner with friends and family
  15. Visit Charleston
  16. Spend a month in SSI again!  :)
  17. Organize my closet
  18. Organize the storage unit
  19. Learn to bake
  20. Begin saving for retirement
  21. Buy a nice camera
  22. Learn to take and edit pictures on my nice camera
  23. Take my mom on a vacation somewhere we have never been
  24. Join a boxing club or at least go
  25. Visit D.C.
  26. Road trip to the Northeastern part of the US
  27. Begin every blog with an inspirational quote or Bible verse
  28. Read and study the Bible
  29. Learn how to tile
  30. Refurnish bedroom furniture
  31. Plant herbs (basil, sage, mint, etc)
  32. Keep the herbs alive
  33. Use the herbs in dishes
  34. Get a hydra colon cleanse
  35. Go to Disney World
  36. Go on a vacation alone
  37. Pay at least 60% of debt off
  38. Hold a yard sale for the weekend
  39. Be open to new relationships
  40. Do not use my credit cards
  41. Put at least $2,000 in savings
  42. Try to stand up on a surfboard
  43. Try to snowboard
  44. Get chair reupholstered
  45. Figure out what is a necessity and if it is not try to find a place that I can donate too
  46. Work on being patient
  47. Wear sunscreen and hat
  48. Develop pictures and frame them
  49. Take Media Specialist GACE
  50. Teach English abroad for a summer
  51. Attempt to plant a garden
  52. Take Bailey for a walk at least 3 days a week
  53. Visit an Organic Farm
  54. Get 8-9 hours of sleep nightly
  55. Get down to a healthy weight
  56. Get my mom to walk with my nightly/daily
  57. Buy new tennis shoes
  58. Buy new workout clothes
  59. Help mom clean out the garage
  60. Help mom clean up back porch
  61. Help mom build sitting area in back
  62. Help mom put up a new back splash in kitchen
  63. Help organize house 
  64. Get Bailey updated on all shots, pills, flea treatments, etc.
  65. Get Bailey cut every 4-6 weeks
  66. Eat meatless at least 2 days a week
  67. Buy a bike
  68. Bike at least 3 days a week 
  69. Attend Tri-Delta Alum events
  70. Attend AU Alum events
  71. Visit a vineyard
  72. Donate money and time to a local charity 
  73. Buy veggies and fruits locally
  74. Pick up garbage on road side next to my house
  75. Learn to play golf
  76. Hold a tailgate with friends
  77. Get an iPhone
  78. Use my Yoga mat
  79. Repaint trunk in room
  80. Make lactose free ice cream for my family
  81. Attend a culinary class
  82. Learn to sail
  83. Continue to research natural meds and ways to take care of myself
  84. Take my mom skydiving
  85. Take my mom zip lining in a jungle setting not North GA  (hahaha!)
  86. Climb Stone Mountain again with my Mom 
  87. Give Bailey a bath every week
As you can see, I'm not at 101 yet.  I will keep thinking of things and hopefully get to 101.  :)  I wanted to go ahead and post this the first of May so I could continue to think of things while working on the ones I already have listed.

One last thing for the day, as you already know, Bin Laden was captured and killed.  I hope that everyone continues to pray for our country and especially the ones who are in other countries working, serving, and doing whatever else abroad.  I have a feeling that due to Bin Laden's killing things could possibly get real nasty between the U.S. and other countries.  I pray that it does not.  I am one who believes in my country and wants to see it succeed, but I am also very skeptical to things that have been going on.  In all honesty, I have lost a lot of faith in the United States government and the things that they tell us.  I know this may sound anti-American, but there are MANY things that are not shared with Americans that I personally feel is vital information for Americans.  I hope and pray that God continues to believe in our country and that the United States continues to be blessed.  I also hope that the many young women and men (including my brother) come home safely from the Middle East.  Please continue to pray for those serving our country.      

I hope everyone has a great day and because today is May 2nd that means I have exactly one month until I come home!  :)  WOO HOO!!!