English Phrases for the Veterinarian (animal hospital)

Whenever my cousin goes out of town, we dog-sit (=we look after) her precious dog, Maxine. We’ve been doing this for years so Maxine is like a part of our own family.

Unfortunately, from the moment she arrived we could tell that Maxine was not herself.  That is, she was not the happy little playful dog she normally is.  So we decided to take her to the emergency hospital. Read on to learn what happened.

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Fall Folliage is Here


It’s that wonderful time of the year!  As Algerian–French author and philosopher Albert Cambus said, “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

Perhaps that’s why spring and fall are my favorite seasons. I love the colors of the leaves and flowers and I love the change of weather. How about you?  What’s your favorite season?

To learn more about fall (which we can also call “autumn”), click here to read my newsletter article about things we eat, see and do here in the Washington, DC area.

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205 T-shirts: A memorial for gun violence victims

I was just walking along getting some exercise and I noticed something down the road. Was it a flea market? Was someone selling clothes?

As I got closer, I could see for certain there were lots of t-shirts…but it definitely wasn’t a clothing sale.

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Jazz Something / Someone Up Idiom

It’s been very cold and rainy here lately but I’m not going to complain because if it were any colder Washington would be covered with snow. I’m not ready for snowy weather.

I decided to pop into a cafe for something warm to drink and I was really pleasantly surprised to see how the barista jazzed up my cocoa with a cute spider web. It was delicious too. The drink was served with a small pot of extra hot chocolate. Mmmmm! I will definitely go back in the coming weeks for another.

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Spring Allergies Vocabulary

Hay fever


Ahhhhh chooooo!

Spring has definitely sprung!

Spring (noun)- a season between winter and summer when plants and flowers begin to grow.

Sprung (verb: spring; the past tense of this verb is irregular – we don’t say springed): to suddenly jump or move forward.

Spring is definitely here because my allergies are killing me. That means that my allergies are really bad. Continue reading

Idiom: Beauty is only skin deep

Photo of Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong’o. Copyright: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

Isbeauty only skin deep?

The English idiomatic expression, “beauty is only skin deep” means that a person’s inner beauty—not their outward physical appearance—is what’s most important.

In English, when we say something is “deep” we are often using the word as a metaphor to say something is important and significant. It is not just something one on the surface (superficial); it’s deeper down below.

English lessonClick here for a guided English lesson that includes an excellent video of Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o discussing her personal struggle with feeling beautiful when she was growing up.

To learn many more idioms, click here to go to the main idioms page.

Idioms with hour

hours idioms

Ever had one of those days? Sometimes Fridays can be difficult because it is the end of the week. Here are a few idioms that have the word “hour” in the. They are all related to time.

Try to fill-in the correct words:

1. I was late for work because of ___________ hour traffic.

2. I tried to go to the doctor’s office during my ___________ hour but it was closed from 12:00 to 2:00 pm.

3. At 6:00 pm, I was ready to leave work but my boss asked me to prepare a report at the ___________ hour.

4. Finally, I left the office and met my friends at a bar but ___________ hour was already over and drinks were full priced.

The answers are below: Continue reading

International Women’s Day


Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day. Since the first time this occasion was celebrated (in 1911), the rights of women have improved significantly in many parts of the world. Unfortunately, equality among men and women is still a big problem. In many places in the world, women have very few rights.

What is it like in your corner of the world?

Google has created an interesting Doodle to celebrate this occasion. There are 100 women in the video and some of them are saying “Happy International Women’s Day.” Do you know any of these women? What does this day mean for you?

If you would like to see the list of all of the women in this video, please click here for the list on Google’s website.





Grab your scuba gear and get ready to dive deep for this English lesson. On Tuesdays, we do a lesson on an interesting TED Talk — these are short but entertaining speeches by a wide-variety of different speakers. This talk is about the amazing things deep in the sea.

Click here for the lesson. Enjoy!

Love Idioms <3


It’s February 14 … usually people either love it or hate it! If you don’t have a sweetheart or you’re suffering from a broken heart, you can always show love to your family and friends.

There are lots of idioms and expressions about love and relationships. The letter (in the picture above) has a lot of idioms. Do you know any of these? If you don’t understand all of them, the definitions are below. Wishing you a happy Valentine’s Day! xoxo, Nicole

blind date:  a date (social meeting) where two people have never met before.

love at first sight:  feeling an immediate attraction or love for someone when you first see or meet them. Continue reading

Listening: Get Lucky by Daft Punk

Get Luck Best Record Grammy

The 56th Annual Grammy Awards were held in Los Angeles on January 26 and “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk was crowned the Best Record of the Year. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers were also featured on this song.

Who is Daft Punk? This is a French group that is popular for electronic music. The group was very popular in the late-1990s. The two musicians who make up the duo are Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter.

A unique thing about Daft Punk is that the Frenchmen wear helmets and gloves to look like robots during their performances and when they are in public. Ready to take a closer look at this song? First, listen to the song and try to fill in the blanks. This will help you practice your listening skills. Continue reading

Idiom: Third times the charm


Third time’s the charm: Don’t know the meaning of this expression?

2014 Australian Open winner Li Na explained the meaning of this idiom in her victory speech:

“Finally I got her [the Australian Open trophy]. The last two times [in 2011 and 2013] were very close.”

So third time’s the charm means the third time you try something it will work out (you will succeed). By the way, we also say “third time lucky” in English to mean the same thing.

Before her match, Li Na was asked if she’d be “third time lucky” in the final and she replied, “In China, 6 and 8 are lucky.”  I guess it’s a good thing she was playing in Australia and not in China today!

If you haven’t seen her victory speech then you have to watch it (see video below). Li Na is Chinese so English is her second language and she did very well with her speech. Congratulations Li Na! Well done!

Idiom: Up to one’s eyeballs (in something)


up to one’s eyeballs in something:  to be very busy or involved with something or to have a lot of something.

Yes, that’s me. I’m drowning in paperwork. I’m up to my eyeballs in work. But that’s not all. I’m also up to my eyeballs in emails to read, laundry to wash and bills to pay.

What are you up to your eyeballs in? Leave a comment below to practice your English. And, if you haven’t signed-up for my FREE newsletter, click here to subscribe.

Want to learn more idioms? Click here to go to the main idioms page.

Best wishes!


Idiom: Blind as a Bat



Blind as a bat:  to not be able to see or to not see well.


This idiom can be confusing for some people because bats have eyes and can see with them!

In the dark (for example at night or in caves) bats can also “see” to get around or locate things by using their ears (they use echolocation). Perhaps that’s why this idiom came about.


Your turn! Can you create a sentence using the idiom blind as a bat? It’s a great way to practice your English. If you haven’t already signed-up for my FREE newsletter, you can get updates on what I post to my website and blog, plus information on the free contests and other fun stuff. Click here to subscribe.

Want to learn more idioms? Click here to go to the main idioms page.

Sales! Sales! Sales! Money idioms


Try to see if you can guess the meaning of these idioms from the picture above and from this passage below:

It’s the end of the season so there are sales in every store right now. Sadly, I spent my bottom dollar on new shoes last week. My friend, however, has money to burn. She spent 750 euros in cold hard cash on a pair of boots and a purse!

Need help with the definitions? Here you go: Continue reading

Idiom: Catch someone’s eye


This has happened to all of us! You want to place your order, get the bill, or there’s something wrong with your meal and you cannot get your waiter’s attention… you cannot catch your waiter’s eye.

catch someone’s eye:  to get someone’s attention; to be attractive to someone.


  • I went shopping for a new coat, but nothing caught my eye.
  • All of the job applicant’s CV’s looked the same, but John’s work experience as a clown caught Continue reading