Sunday, 25 September 2016

MY FALL HEALTH ROUTINE | Tara Berries


Fall is officially here and that means people are indoors more and are more likely to get sick. I am one of those people who is sick a lot as I work with  children and they carry every germ imaginable. I thought I would share with you some of my fall health routine to keep myself feeling refreshed!

1. Fall Walks: I always enjoy a walk along the trails in the fall. Each night I have been going for walks in the trail behind my house and it is so refreshing. I find when I go for a walk I am able to sleep so much better.

2. Yoga: I find this time of year anxiety can really get to me. Driving to new schools or working so much I don't get much down time can really bother me so practicing yoga each day helps me relax. Practicing yoga helps remind me to slow things down and enjoy the present moment.

3. Coconut Oil Mask: I suffer from incredibly dry skin and the fall is when it starts to really bother me. I was told that coconut oil will do miracles for my skin so I went to Costco and bought coconut oil and have been putting it on my face before bed. I have ordered some essential oils so I can add some to my evening face mask. I find when I wake up the next morning my skin is much more hydrated than if I was using a store bought moisturizer.

4. Taking my daily vitamins: I have a horrible immune system so taking daily vitamins helps boost my immune system to handle going into different classes each day. I take Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, and Zinc all of which were suggested by my doctor.

5. Hot lemon water: I drink hot lemon water each evening before bed. I find this is the greatest way to prevent laryngitis if I do catch a cold or flu. I have suffered through month long bouts of laryngitis to know I should try and keep it at bay and hot lemon water does the trick.


Now that I have told you how I try and stay healthy throughout the fall months please let me know if you have any tips on how to stay healthy in comments below. If you liked this post please follow me on Bloglovin'!

Xo. Tara Berries

Thursday, 22 September 2016

TEN THINGS I LOVE ABOUT FALL | Tara Berries


Fall is a beautiful time of year as the leaves change colour, temperatures get cooler, and time spent with friends become a bit more intimate. Today is the first day of fall and I thought I would share with you why I love fall so much.

Ten things I love about fall:
1. Decorating for Hallowe'en in October is something I get excited about each and every year. Something as simple as a pumpkin decoration gets me all happy in anticipation!

2. My favourite television shows start and with the sun going down a lot earlier, watching television in the evening becomes much more enjoyable. Anyone watch This Is Us? I think I have found my new favourite show!

3. I get to bring out my favourite clothing item: the blanket scarf. There is a lady in Bownmanville called The Scarf Lady and she sells blanket scarves which is where I bought the one in the picture below. I love my blanket scarf as it keeps me warm and is so cute!


4. In the fall coffee dates become much more common and I love how intimate they can be. Sitting inside a coffee house chatting about work, family, and life in general with a good friend can be just the social interaction I am looking for.


5. Hallowe'en movies appearing on television is another thing I love about fall. I don't think there is a year that passes where I don't watch Hocus Pocus - the greatest Hallowe'en movie around- but also introducing my nephew to movies like Casper can be great fun as well.

6. The leaves change colour and our fashion and makeup change colour as well. Gone are the pink lip glosses as we welcome dark plums and reds to match our clothing.

7. Fall vegetables are now in season! Butternut squash soup and root vegetables in a nice stew are so nice to have on a cold evening.

8. Reading a great book. I am almost finished with Baby Doll by Holly Overton and I have to say, I really enjoy it. I like how each character has their own challenges and they aren't considered perfect.


 9. My life is on a schedule! Being a supply teacher can give me similar schedules to the students I teach. Sleeping in and staying up late is great for the summer but I am ready to work each day and have a daily schedule.

10. The last thing I love about fall is Hallowe'en! Dressing up in costumes, handing out candy, eating candy- I love it all! Below is a picture of my best friend and I wearing the masks of Statler and Waldorf from The Muppets.


That concludes my list of things I love about fall! Please let me know in the comments what you love about fall or if you don't like, tell me what you don't like! I look forward to reading your comments. Never miss a post by following me on Bloglovin'!

Xo. Tara Berries

Sunday, 18 September 2016

FALL READS FOR THE HARRY POTTER FAN | TARA BERRIES



I remember the year 2007 like it was yesterday, I spent it going to Wizard Rock concerts, listening to MuggleCast, and staying up to go to a Midnight Release party for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. You can imagine what that night looked like as I went straight home and read it in less than 24 hours. 2016 has reminded me an awful lot of 2007 what with the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as well as the ebooks Jo Rowling released this summer.

Seeing that the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is being released in theatres November 2016 I thought I would share with you three fall reads for the Harry Potter fan.

1. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J. K. Rowling (2009). This book was released years ago and the proceeds went to charity. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a textbook in the famous Harry Potter series and Rowling wrote the book describing different beasts in the Wizarding World. I will be rereading this book before the movie (same title but Rowling wrote a screenplay of a different story) comes out in November.

2. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them An Original Screenplay by J. K. Rowling (2016). This is a hardcover screenplay of the movie being released in November. Jo Rowling wrote this completely herself and it is based in New York City with Eddie Redmayne (swoons) as the main character. The release date is November 18, 2016 and you can pre-order it through Amazon and have it arrive at your house (no massive line-ups at midnight). Having read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child I am confident that I will enjoy reading another screenplay and can't wait to delve into a magical story again.

3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter, Book 2) by J. K. Rowling, released October 4, 2016. Scholastic released the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone last fall and this fall they are releasing the illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I own the illustrated version of Sorcerer's Stone and I have to say, it is exquisite and is a Harry Potter fan's dream. I must say, my Harry Potter books have been well loved over the years so Scholastic releasing hardcover illustrated versions of each Harry Potter book each year is brilliant as it allows me to have a nicer version of the book without paying for a box set of hardcover books all at once. Also, I love rereading Harry Potter books and autumn is the perfect time to reread the book along with gorgeous illustrations.

Are you a fan of Harry Potter? If so, please let me know in the comments which books you will be purchasing this fall of if you will be putting these books on your Christmas wishlist. If you haven't read Harry Potter, let me know which books you will be reading this fall. If you like this post and you don't want to miss any of my future blog posts please follow me on Bloglovin'.

Don't forget to be awesome,
Tara Berries

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links

Thursday, 15 September 2016

FIVE ON FRIDAY | TARA BERRIES




Woohoo, it is the second Friday of the school year! I have already worked my first supply day and am eagerly anticipating more days to come. This past week has been quite a chill week for me but I have been doing more research on how to make my blog better and I will let you know what type of research I have been doing in this blog post! Since it is Friday I thought I would share with you five things that I have done this week.

1. I visited the Toronto Zoo. If you are a regular on my blog then you would have read my review of the time I spent at the Toronto Zoo. It was such a fun experience and I got to meet Juno, the ten-month-old polar bear! There was also the first pair of twin pandas ever born in Canada, how cool is that? You can check out my review here and let me know if you have been to the Toronto Zoo or any zoo near you in the comments section. 


2. Melyssa Griffin's Webinar: 4 Ways to Use Pinterest to Dramatically Grow Your Traffic + Audience. I am part of Melyssa Griffin's (a blog marketing guru) mailing list and when she mentioned she was giving a free webinar I was totally in. Luckily I was available to see what she had to say about growing my Pinterest traffic and she had a lot of cool ideas. I am slowly putting her tips into practice on my Pinterest page and making better graphics for my blog. I know I still need to work on my photography but that will come along with time.

3. I finally put up my sign from Anchor & Co. Don't forget to be awesome is my favourite saying and I even have a necklace from Stella & Dot with the letters DFTBA on it (all my students like to ask me what the letters stand for). So when I won this beautiful sign in an online auction I was incredibly happy.

4. My UNIK CASE-Purple Light Blue Gradient Ombre Triangular Galore Graphic Ultra Slim Light Weight Matte Rubberized Hard Case Cover for Macbook Air 13". Alright, so I am little knew to the MacBook world and I am in laptop love. I have always been very techy (obviously, I run a blog) but this MacBook is literally a dream come true. I have been meaning to find a stylish case for it and I just ordered this case off of Amazon. I love the ombre look and I think it reflects my girly style so well. I can't wait to show you all pictures of it when it comes in the mail. 


5. Millennial Show Podcast: I have stated in previous blog posts that I am a huge fan of these podcasters (they also created MuggleCast back in the day) and I have followed them through their podcasting careers. Millennial Show is the type of podcast that makes you laugh out loud at their funny day-to-day lives but also keeps you informed on current events. Such a fun show to listen to in the car on my way to a supply teaching call.

Thank-you so much for reading my Five on Friday. Let me know what you are loving this Friday in the comments below.

Xo. Tara Berries

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

DAY TRIP TO THE TORONTO ZOO | TARA BERRIES


My grade eight teacher was a zoologist before becoming a teacher and she was on the show Zoo Diaries. She used to work with the gorillas and she set up a field trip for us all to go. During that time there were elephants and we got to go see where they stayed when they weren't on display but since then the Toronto Zoo sent the elephants to a more suitable climate. Recently, my sister and I went with my nephews to the Toronto Zoo (over thirteen years since I was last there) and I had such an amazing time!

The great thing about the Toronto Zoo is that they have a lot of baby animals and they are really neat to see. They have twin baby pandas who were the first panda bears born in Canada which was absolutely amazing. There was a lineup to see the pandas because they move to Calgary after they spend five years in Toronto and they are an inside exhibit.


I also learned about a whole new species of animal that I didn't know existed, the red panda. I had never heard of them before and I noticed they look like raccoons. I was so excited they came out of hiding when we were there.



The Toronto Zoo has added so many great statues, waterfalls, and caves that it is really special to get to walk around and see the different exhibits. It took the whole day to go through the park and we missed a lot of animals (I didn't get to see flamingos or the grizzly bear). We did not pay extra for the Zoomobile so we had a lot of walking which I enjoyed because we went in September when the weather was cooler. 




 This is Juno the ten-month-old polar bear. 




I had such a wonderful day at the Toronto Zoo as it was well worth the money to go and spend the day there. I could tell the animals were well taken care of and that protecting endangered animals was very important to the zoo. Have you been to a zoo, which one was it and did you enjoy it? What are your favourite animals to see at the zoo? Let me know in the comments!

Xo. Tara Berries


Saturday, 10 September 2016

WHY MY UNIVERSITY DEGREE WAS WORTH THE TIME | TARA BERRIES



When I was in high school I wanted to be a pediatric nurse as I loved working with kids and I wanted to help them. I kept saying I was going to be a nurse until I realized what the job of a nurse actually entailed. Nursing is twelve hour days giving medicine and needles, taking care of patients, and giving important information to doctors. Nursing it turns out, was not for me and I realized this towards the end of my grade 11 year. 

My neighbour and good friend was attending university and so I began asking her which university she attended and the degree she was getting. Kelly told me that she was attending Trent University, a small liberal arts university in Peterborough, Ontario. However, she attended the satellite campus in Oshawa at the UOIT campus where she studied sociology. I quickly did my research and realized that a lot of my friends were attending this university and they were getting quality education right at home. I knew Trent appealed to me and applied to Trent, York, and Carleton in grade 12. I was accepted to all of the universities but Trent gave me the highest scholarship and I was able to stay at home and save money.

When I accepted Trent I was the first person in my family to be accepted into a university and it was a big decision to go. I was accepted in 2008 when the economy was so bad we were in a recession. Youth unemployment was high and there were hardly any entry level positions. Not to mention that I wanted to become a teacher which was increasingly becoming a competitive career choice in Ontario. In the back of my mind I kept thinking, "I should get a practical diploma at Durham College and see where that gets me" but I kept wanting to study and give myself time to grow.

So off I went to Trent University, which at the time of my first year we were on the UOIT/Durham College campus. This worked out great as my best friend was living on residence at the university and I knew many others at both UOIT and Durham college. I got to see my friends a lot and also made many new friends. 

My first year I became good friends with a girl named Crystal and we are still good friends to this day, in fact, I am the Maid of Honour in her wedding next year. That first year seemed like a blur but I did manage to go to the campus pub a lot and stayed overnight at the residence a few times with my friend Dale. However, I stuck to myself a lot in classes and didn't join any campus clubs or activities. I realized the summer going into second year that I needed more on my resume than just studying psychology. I joined the Trent Pen Pal program and the Peer Mentoring program which helped me network with other students who wanted a similar career as I did. Each summer I took a course which meant my workload during the school year wasn't as chaotic and I could do the extracurriculars that I wanted.

In third year our satellite campus got their own space on Thorton Road in Oshawa and they officially called it Trent University Durham. It was a neat transition because we finally had our own community and I became so much more involved in university life. I worked hard and by fourth year I had become a totally different person. I was able to network with people and talk about what I was studying and what I wanted to do after I graduated. I learned to persevere during my third year advanced statistics class which was as horrible as it sounds. 

I experienced a lot during those four years at Trent University Durham that helped change me into the person I am today. I lost both of my uncles as well as my cat within one year and I became an auntie. I also was accepted into Trent University's School of Education and Professional learning where I obtained my Bachelor of Education. Five years and two university degrees later I was ready to start my career.

I remember bumbling my way through interviews at the beginning of university like I had no idea what I was saying. By the time I graduated from Trent I was able to speak to all of the experiences I had made in university and was able to answer questions with confidence. University had prepared me to be a critical thinker and a constant researcher. As a teacher I am always looking up best teaching practices and taking additional qualifications each summer and that is because I learned that research is important to our everyday lives.

When I think back to where I was in high school I know I made the right decision with choosing Trent University. All throughout my university career I would see this great academic advisor and he would give me advice on the best track to becoming a teacher. I learned to become a great decision maker from staying at home and saving money to applying to teacher education programs that were close by, and to put myself forward and become involved in my campus community.


Now that I am an occasional teacher and an early learning facilitator I and constantly meeting other Trent graduates in the community. I love to share with them my love for the university, professors, and staff who made my time there so wonderful. I miss both the Durham and Peterborough campuses so much and each for different reasons. Trent Durham was a very social place to be with really positive and helpful people whereas Trent in Peterborough was where I became a teacher, my true passion in life. 

Choosing to go to a liberal arts university may seem like a bad decision when you can take a diploma program in half the time but like my academic advisor told me, no program guarantees you a job. Whether you choose a diploma program at your local college or you choose a university degree, your time there is what you make of it. You can choose to only go to class and do the bare minimum of work to get your degree or you can choose to go to class, join clubs and programs, and meet new people. My Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) degree and my Bachelor of Education degree did not get me the jobs that I have now. What got me the two jobs I have was my knowledge, skills, work ethic, and experience all of which I got through being involved with the university and the community. 

If you are thinking of going to university or college please let me know where you are applying. Also, if you went to a university or college let me know where you went and what your experience was like. Please follow me on bloglovin' to never miss a blog post!

Xo. Tara Berries





Thursday, 8 September 2016

WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO PODCASTS | TARA BERRIES


In high school I was a huge Harry Potter fan (ok, I still am). I remember eagerly waiting for the sixth Harry Potter book to be released with such passion that I joined online forums to discuss my theories with other fans. These online forums quickly became a second home for me as I would quickly run home from school to chat with other people from around the world about the most important thing in my life: Harry Potter. While on one of these forums I came across MuggleCast, a podcast about Harry Potter. Now, this wouldn't seem strange but ten years ago I had never heard of a podcast. In fact, I didn't even have an iPod at the time. I learned quickly what it was (a radio show you can download to your computer/device) and I became hooked.

Ten years later I still follow the creators of MuggleCast and they have come out with their own podcasts about news and pop culture. These podcasts I pay for using Patreon but there are plenty of great podcasts that are free to listen to. There are several reasons why I still listen to podcasts and think they are worthwhile and I thought I would share them with you.

3 Reasons Why You Should Listen to Podcasts:

1. Podcasts are relevant. You can download podcasts from the CBC or NPR which discuss current events and politics which keep you updated. I have a problem with watching 24 hour news channels as I find they report a lot of the bad news and not a lot of the good news so having podcasts to listen to about current events is a nice change from traditional media. I listen to #Millennial for a podcast about current events, politics, and pop culture.

2. You can find your niche: There are podcasts about a variety of things such as crafts, blogs, and Gilmore Girls. These podcasts are a way to create community and to keep informed of the things you enjoy. MuggleCast is a podcast that has been running for over a decade and I continue to listen to it as it keeps me informed on what is happening in the Harry Potter fandom.

3. Podcasts give great advice. I currently am listening to Blogging Your Passion to help me with my blog and I have learned some great advice. If there is something you are working on you can most likely find a podcast to help you with it. For instance, Couch to 5k is a great podcast that gives you a specific running plan to help you run your first 5k.

Those are the reasons why I continue to listen to podcasts. If you haven't listened to one, I encourage you to give it a try. If you already listen to a podcast let me know in the comments which ones you listen to! Never miss a Tara Berries blog post by following me on Bloglovin'.

Xo. Tara Berries


Tuesday, 6 September 2016

WHAT DOES SUCCESS MEAN TO YOU? | TARA BERRIES


So I had a cry-my-eyes-out kind of week where I felt like my whole future looked bleak. There were no changes in my life to make me think this other than the usual back-to-school posts on Facebook but that was the problem. A few of my friends had posted photos of their classrooms or school supplies and it had me feeling inadequate because I don't have my own classroom. Teaching in Ontario is a very competitive profession and one that is difficult to navigate. Some of my friends who had posted their classrooms took the easy way there and I have to remind myself that I didn't take the easy way - I took the one with mountains instead of hills and winding roads instead of straight streets to navigate. I worked hard to get to where I am and I know that but I feel like I have to work harder than any of my friends to even get a little bit higher on the crazy career jungle gym we are all climbing. I thought I would share with you what success means to me.

1. Success means I am constantly challenging myself. This summer I took a kindergarten course which taught me the new curriculum and I feel much more knowledgeable on the kindergarten classroom than many people who won't have experience with it.

2. Success is networking with different people. I am already connected and working with one school board but I still volunteer with another school in a different board to increase my connections. 

3. Putting your eggs all in one basket is never good which is why I have started blogging. I'm not sure how long I will be supply teaching for but it could be years and I need to save money and carry on with my own life. Starting my own business will give me extra income to save money and to have some control of my own financial future.

4. Success is looking at what you have accomplished and being proud of yourself. I have two university degrees, plenty of professional development, and networks as well as experience in childcare, school boards, and recreation. I enjoy working with children and I know that as long as I continue to grow I will get to where I want to be. Comparing myself to other people who took different routes than I did is not only unfair but it also tears down their success. I should be happy for my friends for their success - after all, I did encourage them to get there.

I am curious about what success means to you? Let me know in the comments! After my messy breakdown I realized that nothing is perfect. I am always putting makeup on before going to work or out with my friends but I just wanted to take some photos without straightening my hair and putting makeup on. There is freedom  in showing your imperfections.

Xo. Tara Berries




Saturday, 3 September 2016

STELLA & DOT LABOR DAY SALE | TARA BERRIES


**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 

Ah, Labor Day weekend is upon us and that means back to school and a change of routines. If you are like me you might be scrambling to switch to a more professional wardrobe after wearing sundresses and maxi skirts all summer. My favourite place to purchase accessories from is Stella & Dot, a direct sales company. I love the quality of Stella & Dot as well as the variety that they have. You can easily wear some of your summer fashion pieces into the fall by accessorizing. 

If this Labor Day weekend has you wanting to add to your wardrobe this fall check out the Stella & Dot Labor Day Sale. 

I think the Nolita Small Crossbody - black/Metallic handbag is a steal as it is on sale for more than half off! In my photo above you can see that I am wearing a metallic Stella & Dot scarf which I purchased on sale last fall and this fall they have this beautiful Union Square Scarf - Multi Geo Print, I would totally grab that this weekend.


If the sale items aren't your style, this gorgeous Laurel Lauriat Necklace might catch your eye. The Laurel Lauriat Necklace can be worn several different ways and can be worn casually at work or can be dressed up for an evening out.

Let me know what your favourite Stella & Dot items are and if you plan on purchasing any of the sale items this Labor Day Weekend! Let's all get dressed up this fall and be ready to look our best at work and out with friends.

Xo. Tara Berries

Thursday, 1 September 2016

SEPTEMBER GOALS & AUGUST RECAP | TARA BERRIES


Hello everyone! Can you believe it is September already? I sure can't! I am so excited for fall as it is my absolute favourite time of year. I love warm sweaters, scarves, ankle boots, and of course, Starbucks. I thought before getting into my September Goals, I would bring up how my August goals went.



1. Blog twice a week: I was able to blog twice a week this month and sometimes more than twice a week. This consistency in blogging helped grow my view count and I am very proud of where my blog is at right now.

2. Buy my own domain: As you can see I bought my own domain http://www.taraberries.com. This was scary territory because blogging became more real to me this month. With any free blog account you can just let it go if you aren't feeling it but when you are invested in blogging with your own domain you kind of need to keep at it.

3. Workout twice a week: I managed this goal as well! Super proud of myself for working out and playing Pokemon Go kept my cardio going as well.

4. Read more books: If you are a regular reader of my blog then you know that August has been great for reading more books. You can click here to read about the books I read in August. 

1. Blog twice a week: September means back to routine and even though it should be a slow month for supply teaching, I really want to set the routine for the rest of the year. I plan to take my photographs on the weekends and blog in the evenings.

2. Work on my photography: I have a Nikon D4300 and am slowly learning how to use it. I was given it by my lovely sister but there was no manual passed with the camera so I am focusing on figuring out how to use it on manual mode. If you know of any online courses I can take to boost my photography please let me know in the comments.

3. Workout twice a week: I workout at home so I should be able to continue this trend. I want to keep at my fitness routine all year long.

4. Eat healthier: I have cut out most fast food and I think I am eating healthier than in the springtime but I could definitely start counting my calories. By using Myfitnesspal I should hopefully be able to keep my calories on track to help me lose more weight.

5. Create a savings plan: Last fall I was able to open up a tax-free savings account from money I had made before getting on the supply list for a school board. Since the last year was a rough one supply teaching, I haven't saved much money. I need to create a savings plan so even when I make only a little bit of money, I am still putting some away for the bigger things in life.

Those are my goals for September. What are your goals for September? Please share them with me in the comments below! Never miss a blog post by following me on bloglovin'.

Xo. Tara Berries