Cooking with Crisco

Now We’re Cooking (with ___)! – Idiom of the Week

  “Now we’re cooking with…gas, grease, heat, fire, Crisco, peanut oil” – you name it. This phrase has many variations, but that’s what makes it so well known! Some variations are more popular than others in certain regions of the United States.   Forms of the Phrase: As mentioned, this phrase can come in any […]

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

Jack of All Trades, Master of None – Idiom of the Week

This idiom, or figure of speech, can be broken into two obvious parts: “jack of all trades” and “master of none”. The real “meat and potatoes,”* or substance, of this phrase as a whole is “jack of all trades,” so we’ll start there. “Jack of all trades” is said to have evolved from the Elizabethan […]

Neck of the Woods

Stomping Ground / Neck of the Woods – Idiom of the Week

  Your “neck of the woods” refers to the area you come from or where you live currently. While this phrase might have specifically referred to forest settlements during its inception, it is now used more loosely, referring to urban settings as well as rural ones. “Stomping grounds,” on the other hand, refers to a […]

Great Minds Think Alike – Idiom of the Week

There are some days that you and your best friend show up wearing the same outfit: black jeans, plain tee, and a denim button down tied around your waists…. What can you say: “great minds think alike!”   In modern conversation, this phrase is generally used in a light-hearted, humorous way when two (or more) […]

Branch Out – Idiom of the Week

    This week’s idiom is also a phrasal verb! A phrasal verb is a verb combined with a preposition in order to create a different meaning. Never had authentic Thai, Brazilian, or Japanese food? “Branch out”, and try something new! Some might even say “broaden your horizons.”   So, what does this mean? (Hint: […]

Time Flies – Idiom of the Week

    It’s almost been more than two years since Apto’s official incorporation! My how time flies! “Time flies,” or “time flies when you’re having fun,” is an idiom that means time passes very quickly, particularly when one is occupied with something they find enjoyable! (FreeDictionary) Have you ever noticed how time seems to go […]

Can’t Make a Silk Purse Out of a Sow’s Ear – Idiom of the Week

We’ve always heard that “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear,” but CEO Traci Snowden is learning otherwise in Wilson, Arkansas attending an AgTech event attracting international investors and FDI. (Click here to learn more about Davos on the Delta) This company thinks otherwise: “It’s our job to make a silk […]

Common Ground – Idiom of the Week

Yumi and Hirotaka met at a party at a friend’s house, and became fast friends when they realized that they both loved fried chicken – in particular, Nashville Hot Chicken. Bonding over this common ground, they frequently would meet for lunch at Hattie B’s and sometimes compete to see who could eat the hottest chicken.* […]

food for thought

Food for Thought – Idiom of the Week

In a world of endless opinions and points of view, “food for thought” is a great idiom to know. Diverse ideas and input make relationships exciting  excited and keep connections engaged. But sometimes you need a little time to think about something before you can form your own opinion or make a comment – and […]

break the ice

Break the Ice – Idiom of the Week

We’ve all experienced uncomfortable moments introducing ourselves to someone new – whether in a professional or social setting. We want to make a positive impression, but we often aren’t sure what to say or talk about. As ex-pats, this situation might be doubly difficult, because of the added language and cultural differences. This weeks idiom, […]

drawing board square one

Back to the Drawing Board – Idiom of the Week

  Back too square one! Back to ground zero! Oh wait… we probably shouldn’t define one idiom with another. Whoops! Anyway, if you’ve ever been working on a project or classwork, only to have an idea fail or find that your entire plan was unsuccessful, then you know what it’s like to have to reevaluate […]

lost translation

Lost in Translation – Idiom of the Week

Apto is here to help break down any cultural and linguistic barriers. Unfortunately, some things can just be lost in translation. For example, how about this yellow hazard sign that can be found in public areas all around the world, like airports, train stations, or shopping malls. This sign is here to alert anyone nearby […]

hit the nail on the head

Hit the Nail on the Head – Idiom of the Week

When my boss proclaimed that I’d really “hit the nail on the head” with this one, I froze for a second. I shifted my eyes down and to the right, while trying to think of any logical explanation for this comment. When did I do carpentry work? Am I sleep building again? Is there a […]

deer in the headlights

Deer in the Headlights – Idiom of the Week

Imagine this: You’ve been up all night getting ready for today’s big presentation. You’re exhausted, stressed, and worried, and you need caffeine! You hurry in to the nearest coffee shop and wait in a long, noisy line. Finally, it’s your turn, and you can’t wait to order a large black coffee. Instead, you’re met by […]

fish out of water

Fish out of Water – Idiom of the Week

“Boy, it is hot out here today. It seems so much hotter than normal, and I feel so strange. It’s hard to explain, but nothing feels right, and I can’t seem to catch my breath. And why are all these people staring at me. Haven’t they seen a fish out of water before? Wait – I’m […]

train of thought

Train of Thought – Idiom of the Week

Your “train of thought” won’t take you anywhere physically, but it can take you almost anywhere in your imagination! This week’s idiom of the week is used to describe how we move from one idea to the next in our minds, and how that mental journey can also often be derailed! Here’s a perfect “train […]

herding cats

Herding Cats – Idiom of the Week

Have you ever had one of those moments when you feel like no matter how hard you try? That something is going to either go wrong or fall through the cracks (bonus points if you know this extra idiom)? When things seem unmanageable or just too complex to get done, we compare these activities to the […]

on the same page

On the Same Page- Idiom of the Week

Nothing is more fundamental to an expat’s success in America than effective communication and understanding. After all, it’s the reason Apto exists, and why you and others in similar situations or with your same cultural and linguistic challenges are here with the goal of improving your language and communication skills. Do you agree? If so, […]

bull by the horns

Take the Bull by the Horns – Idiom of the Week

Misunderstand this week’s idiom and you could be taking your life into your own hands!  Of course, when someone says you should “take the bull by the horns,” they don’t really mean you should join the rodeo and start bull riding (although if you’re interested, click here for a history of American rodeo sports). Instead, […]

outside the box

Think Outside the Box – Idiom of the Week

If you’ve spent any time in the American corporate world, you’ve likely heard this week’s “idiom of the week.” To “think outside the box” is an expression most claim to hate and all would agree is overused. Yet, it’s still frequently heard in meeting rooms and on conference calls across the country. For example, when […]

catch your breath

Catch One’s Breath – Idiom of the Week

This week’s idiom of the week is one the Apto team knows well! We’ve been so busy preparing for the kick off of our Phase 2 Beta (and by the way, spaces are still available – sign up here), we haven’t had even a minute to stop and “catch our breath.” A phrase that can […]

hang in there

Hang in There! – Idiom of the Week

Idioms. It’s impossible to learn any language without encountering these non-literal uses of vocabulary, but English is particularly plentiful with them. And while they give speakers colorful, creative, and often powerful ways to explain, describe, and communicate, they are not always easy to understand, learn, or use for non-native speakers. Apto is an informal language learning tool […]

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