It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas

Image via BestPriceNutrition

Today’s coffee of choice was a bit unorthodox for me.  I usually opt for sweet, icy beverages (anything similar to a milkshake usually makes me happy), but California finally got a major dose of cold weather this week, so I chose something new: an SkCDL (or “Skinny Cinnamon Dulce Latte” in layman’s terms).  This was recommended to me by the perkiest, Santa’s-elf-like barista I have ever met…which may explain why I had my first “Fa-La-La-La-La” moment of the year.  Yes, this warm beverage jolted memories of Christmas shopping at Stonestown Galleria with my mom, not to mention sugar plum fairies dancing in my head.  While I’m not one for cinnamon-flavored anything, this drink has just a subtle taste of the aforementioned spice, with a hint of vanilla flavor as well.  And at just around one hundred calories, I can revel in the Christmas spirit without rapidly heading towards Santa’s rotundity.

P.S. If you’ve ever wondered if the barista wrote your order correctly on your cup, you can learn to decipher the Starbucks code at: http://flashcarddb.com/cardset/48513-starbucks-drink-initials-flashcards.

I scream, you scream, we all scream without caffeine

Barista at work

Image via Wikipedia

You are driving to work, trying to keep your eyes open from the long night of grading that you put behind you, and attempting to not think about the long night of grading you have ahead of you, when suddenly, a disturbing thought hits you–it’s only Tuesday.

There is only one solution to this problem: caffeine.

If you love the taste of coffee, you can hit your closest Peet’s Coffee; if you don’t like the taste of coffee, but love the effect, you will most likely stumble upon at least three ubiquitous Starbucks on your way.  There, the handy-dandy, always happy baristas (except for this guy) can work their magic in order to concoct frosty masterpieces for you (light caramel frappuccino, anyone?).

Finally, you may opt for a soda instead: the LARGEST sodas are at your local gas station (I saw one today at the AMPM that was the size of my head.  Literally…I’m not a large person).  McDonalds  sells all of their sodas for $1 (even the large), and the largest large outside of the gas station can be found at Jack in the Box.

Happy slurping!

P.S.  For something to look forward to, read The New York Times article below.

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Improving students’ lives through…pomodoros?

Pomodoro Timer

Image via Wikipedia

Last year, I spent a colossal amount of time working after school.  This left me completely exhausted, and none too happy.  Not to mention the fact that I did not get to see my family except for half-asleep, zombie-state periods of time that were not fulfilling.

This year, I decided to do things a little differently.  I researched the topic of time management online and I found…

the pomodoro timer.

The pomodoro timer is a simple tool that was created by an Italian man who had a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato (tomato=pomodoro in Italian).  He found that he could focus in twenty-five minute increments, take five-minute breaks in between, and therefore remain more focused on the task at hand.  After one’s fourth twenty-five-minute work time, the break time is twenty minutes.  Supposedly, all of these breaks will refresh one’s brain, and one is supposed to work faster than a pomodoro’s flight time during La Tomatina.

Free pomodoro timers are available for iPhones, iPod Touches, and Android phones.  I downloaded the “Pomodroido” on my Android, and tried the pomodoro timer for a few days.

Guess what?  It actually works.  I was astounded at the amount of work that I could get done just by refraining from getting a snack, checking work e-mail, or quickly Googling a random thought.

I let my students know about the pomodoro timer, not sure if they would actually try it.  I explained that they would get work done quickly, and would then have the rest of the afternoon to check Facebook or text their friends GUILT FREE, without the thought that they should be doing something else hanging over their heads.

The next day, I had a group of students tell me that they tried it and it worked!  One student (who had been depressed for a full week) was so excited that he completed all of his homework the night before, that he was in great spirits.  Another student told me that, with the help of the pomodoro timer, she spent an hour and a half on homework–a full hour and a half less than it usually takes her!

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“Every day has been so short, every hour so fleeting, every minute so filled with the life I love that time for me has fled on too swift a wing.” —Aga Khan III

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