Friday, December 29, 2017

A New Website

Hi all! Over winter break, I took the time to make this blog a bit more formal. I've started posting on

I'm hoping this new location will make it easier to find me and will offer me a few more options for how I post. Thanks for joining me on this adventure!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

And Then I Embraced Ankle Boots...

Hi! I hope most of you are enjoying the start of a much-deserved break. I'm still a few days away from the sweet sound of...well...I guess it's the lack of a sound...the lack of an alarm.

The outfit I'm discussing today is proof, that while I am not really an early adapter to some trends, I do, eventually, give in. I was this way with capris, skinny jeans, and now we can add wearing ankle boots with skirts to the list.

I do feel the need to brag and say that I was quick to embrace booties. It's just the casual ankle boots with skirts that I'm just now coming around to. But I have, evidently, fully embraced the trend because I wore this combination twice in the same week.

I love this because it gets me out of heels for a day and keeps my feet so nice and warm. Flats are really, really not a good look for me, especially with skirts and if you add in tights, I totally look like a little girl going to get her school pictures taken. I know several taller women who look very Mary-Tyler-Moore-like in their flats, but that's just not me. I assume it has something to do with my height. So--while it's important to sort out what cuts of pants work for you, etc. It also is important to know what shoes work for your body type and the way you spend your day. I somehow handle heels pretty well most days as long as I've been picky in selecting well-made heels. And on cold days when I'm worried about warmth or black ice, I'm a big fan of riding boots, and now ankle boots.

For this outfit, you can also see that my love of chambray makes me a logical denim jacket fan. I really, really love having a denim jacket. I wear it in the winter with outfits like this, but it's also the perfect jacket to get you through spring and fall as well. I will carry this with me anywhere I go in warmer weather when I'm worried that the AC will be too much for my fragile little arms. It's also perfect for chilly nights at the end of summer or the start of spring. Basically this is my friend any time I'm not wearing jeans.

The one I own is from J. Crew, and they don't have theirs for sale right now. I'm sure it'll come back in the spring. But this is The Gap's version, and I had one of theirs for a decade before I finally bought a replacement.

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I actually bought this skirt last winter, but I never wore it then, so it made its debut a few weeks ago. The sweater is a short sleeve sweater that I plan to wear over some long sleeve shirts and plan to wear with skirts in the spring. I couldn't find the exact skirt, so I've linked a few cute tweed skirts.

Here's a similar one from The Loft.
Color Swatch 5022Zip Pocket Tweed Skirt

And here's another option from The Loft.

Color Swatch 2222Fringe Tweed Pocket Shift Skirt

And, understandable, the short sleeve shirt isn't readily available at this point in the year.
There's only one size left, but this is the sweater.

Short-sleeve sweater

I feel sure they will bring these back around in the spring.

As I mentioned earlier, this was my first time to pair my ankle boots with my skirt. One of my awesome co-workers (And she makes an appearance in this post.) inspired me to give it a try because she always looks so cute in her skirt/ankle boots combo. I found myself super-comfy all day because my feet were so happy because they were warm and not in heels.

I bought my boots last fall, so I couldn't find the exact pair, but here are some similar options.

Breck Bootie
Lucky Brand is my go-to these days.

Brett Bootie

These look pretty cute too!

There are a few other cute options from Lucky Brand, but I'll stop with these two.

Okay--I'm off. Hope this helps you think about another option for winter pairings.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

It's So Hard to Say Goodbye... yesterday!

This blog post is dedicated to all of those clothes that we love, but don't love wearing anymore.

Here is the short tale of my Sunday night to Monday morning:
1. Teacher sets out dress to wear.
2. Decides she hates wearing that dress.
3. Sets out a pair of pants that fit weird.
4. Tells herself that she'll give these pants one more shot.
5. Wakes up the next morning and puts on predetermined outfit.
6. Realizes that the cardigan she selected looks terrible with the outfit. Changes cardigan.
7. Realizes that these pants are a really weird fit and she'll spend the whole day uncomfortable.
8. Decides that life is too short to wear awful pants while other things hang in the closet.
9. Changes pants.
10. Leaves for school, hoping for the best.

Maybe I'm the only one this happens to, but I tend to keep things in my closet because I feel guilty getting rid of perfectly good clothes. But the truth is, when your height is solidified, and you don't have a job in which your clothes get worn out, there just comes a point when you've been wearing the same things for years, and you just get tired of them. Or you buy something, and a year into it being absorbed in your closet you realize that it isn't something that really works for your body type. Whatever it is, it feels like a betrayal to get rid of it.

BUT--a few years ago, I read a book that brought up a good point. If you have clothes in your closet that aren't being worn, you're keeping someone else from being able to wear them. Thinking about how many women have a hard time building up a wardrobe because they are starting to work or have escaped from a abusive relationship or are just on a tight budget made me realize that hoarding clothes that I don't need wasn't responsible. I realized that it would make more sense for me to pass along things I no longer wear and simply put the things I love in higher rotation. Even from a selfish viewpoint, every day I wear something I hate is a day I'm not wearing an outfit that I love. I've tried to be better about giving things away that I don't actually enjoy wearing, only buying things that I really love, and just wearing fewer items more often (and mixing and matching to make new outfits).

Quick note: Don't think you always have to take your retired clothes to Goodwill. There are plenty of non-profits that work with people in need of professional clothes--internship programs, job training programs, etc. I actually donate my dress clothes to my co-workers who work with students in internships.

So I know that not everyone has the luxury of only wearing things they love. Sometimes you just have to wear what you have. I get it. But I would say to just think about how you feel all day in your wardrobe, and, when you can, taking things out of rotation that don't set you up for a good day. And then pay close attention to what things in your closet really make you feel confident, comfortable, and, dare I say it, stylish. And try to take those observations with you when you go shopping.

If you like my outfit I finally settled on, here are some helpful links. (Funny enough, this cardigan is 11 years old, the shirt is 3 or so years old, the shoes and belt are from at least a few seasons ago, and the pants are the birthday pants I talked about in the spring.) So things don't have to be super trendy or new to make you feel confident. They just have to be a good fit for you.

Okay--Here's a newer version of my chambray shirt.

Pocket chambray shirt

And here's a comparable sweater.

Cotton Caryn cardigan sweater

And here's a lighter version.

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And here are the birthday pants.

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Okay--in closing, here are my tips of the day:
1. If you have enough items in your closet, get rid of clothes that make you feel awful, don't fit or just hang there.
2. Learn from shopping mistakes. Be picky even if it means wearing fewer things more often.
3. There are plenty of great causes in any community. There's always somewhere to take the clothes you don't wear so that someone else will benefit from them.

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Joys of Spirit Weeks

It's Thanksgiving break! This is my favorite break of the year. The first 3 months of school are the most stressful for me. Between setting up your classroom, getting your students settled into your routines and expectations, and surviving Back-to-School night and parent conferences, there's just a lot crammed into those first months of school. And if you think about it, there really is always another day off or break in sight after Thanksgiving break.

I thought I would take a second to write about one of my favorite fall weeks: spirit week! I typically use spirit week as an excuse to wear jeans for 5 days in a row, but, unfortunately, this year's theme was Hollywood (or something like that), so it required me to dress up for a few of the days.

Before I give you a rundown of the week's outfits, I thought I would give you a brief soapbox speech about spirit week. I guess it's really brief, because it's basically this: do what you want! If going all in and putting together awesome outfits makes you happy, do it. If the thought of having to put together really cute themed outfits makes you want to run away from home because it's one more thing to manage, don't do it. While I think there are plenty of non-negotiable issues when it comes to teaching, spirit week isn't one of them. Teachers have plenty of situations that force them to fight the temptation to feel guilty or inadequate. Spirit week shouldn't be one of them, Pinterest be damned. Okay--with that speech finished, I'll show you how most of the week went for me.

At our school, Mondays are always pajama day. They tried to mix it up one year, and the people (I'm betting mostly the teachers) rebelled. So, now they don't mess with tradition! I was even more excited about this day because I flew back in from my mom's birthday on Sunday and didn't have to get ready on Monday morning. :)

This is what it looks like when you have to walk to school on pajama day because you forgot that you had called the Uber from school to take you to the airport...I have a few pairs of what I like to call old man pajamas that I usually wear on these days, but it was too warn for flannel PJ's. 

Here are a few options for PJ day. 

I have two or three pairs of these PJ's. I love them because they're perfect for PJ day, and they're also really great for wearing in an older apartment on cold nights...or when your roomie's sister is visiting and you want to look presentable while walking around avoiding getting ready in the morning...or so I hear. 
Tuesday was TV/Movie character day. I was discussing this day with my family over the weekend, and I mentioned that I thought I should be a teacher from a TV show. My niece and nephew both insisted that I should be Ms. Frizzle. 

I took a look online, and found that I needed to look like this:
 Image result for ms frizzle planet dress

So...I remembered a blue dress I had that I thought would work. I printed out some pictures of planets and stars, parted my hair in the middle, and here you have it. My best Ms. Frizzle:

It was kind of funny to watch kids realize who I was.

I only have pictures from one other day--Red Carpet Day (or something similar). I decided that I didn't really want to wear my little black dress and heels all day, so I decided to go for the assistant to the important person on the red carpet. Something like this:
Image result for assistants on the red carpet

So I put on my black pants, black jacket, and heels. And then I found every sparkly thing I owned. It turned out like this:

I actually was just discussing the wonder of these pants with a new friend at Thanksgiving yesterday. I own them in multiple colors, and she mentioned that she had them in three colors. The jacket is actually a suit jacket from 10 years ago. The pants that go with the jacket went out of style a while ago, but I kept the jacket for a reason I couldn't explain.

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And here are the magic pants.

I can't explain how comfortable these are! And they hold their shape well.

I'm wearing my Dak Prescott shoes, and I'm going to link a few sparkly pieces here that are similar to the ones I wore.

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This one is crazy expensive, but when it goes on sale, it might be fun for holiday dresses.

Here's another cute option.

Brass-plated crystal necklace

Here's another cute option.
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Here are a few options for bracelets.
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Here's another option.

I love jewelry from Banana and J. Crew because it seems to hold up a bit better than the stuff I purchase elsewhere. I am way too cheap to buy it at full price, so I always just wait for a sale and stock up then.

Okay--I'm off to tackle more of my Thanksgiving break to-do list. Wish me luck...because I might just end up watching another cheesy movie about a woman who finds true love in a small town at Christmas time.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

And Then I Wore All of the Skirts...

I have this weird rule that I don't do the summer/winter switch until Thanksgiving break. I always have those last few outfits I want to wear one more time before sending them to the attic for the winter. But I woke up one Saturday a few weeks ago and declared that I was tired of being was time to get the sweaters out.

I waited another week or so before really giving into fall. And by that I mean, I waited another week before busting out the tights. I guess I started this blog in the spring, so my absolute love of tights never really came out before now. But now you know. I could wear tights every day and be perfectly happy. The pictures below seem to back up this claim.


I love a good winter wool skirt, and both of these are from J. Crew Factory. The one on the left is a few years old, and the one on the right is from last season. Much like my spring/summer skirts from J. Crew Factory, these are cuts that seem to come up each season in different colors. I'm kind of a fan because, as I was talking about with a co-worker, it's so nice to know how something is going to fit and be able to just order online. I do have a bit of a problem with buying too many colorful/pattern skirts, and then I have trouble avoiding the temptation to wear a white or chambray shirt too often. See above for proof.

I also have become a bit of a groupie for heather grey tights. I have this pair from J. Crew (Quick side note: These are super affordable and, so far, have been pretty durable.) Outfits like this work so well for cold days. The boots/tights keep me warm, the cut of the dress is comfortable, and the button down nature of the shirt means I never worry about my extra winter pounds being on display.

Here are a few similar options:
Wool sidewalk skirt in plaid
Look at all the cute colors it comes in!

Wool mini skirt in harvest plaid

Here's another cute option.

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I think this is the exact shirt I'm wearing with the plaid skirt.

Pocket chambray shirt
And I actually own two of these shirts because I wear them so much. Feel free to judge.

I couldn't find the boots of mine, but I found a few options from the same brand. Since my research on riding boots turned up the idea that ankle boots are the way to go, I'm including an option that follows the fashion trends.

Breck Bootie
Ankle boots option

Eadon Boot
I'm not sure about these, but they might be adorable...

Okay--well, I'm off to finish off day one of "do what I want."

Image result for i do what I want

When It's Too Warm for Winter but Too Cold for Summer...

In this part of the country, it seems that there are normally a few glorious weeks that actually feel like this mystical season we call fall.  When I first started teaching, I was broke, and trying to build a wardrobe large enough to survive the year. I didn't have the flexibility to actually have "fall" clothes. It's been a nice perk to be able to buy a few pieces here and there that really only work for this short season. It keeps me from freezing or melting while waiting for the next season to kick in.

Riding boots are my go-to this time of year. I even did a Google search to make sure I'm fashionably allowed to wear them. The verdict is that they're still okay, but ankle boots are slowly taking over their place. So, I guess I'll be looking for ankle boots for next season, but for now, I'm riding (pun unintended, but I'll take it) out the last wave of this trend because it keeps my legs warm. This pair is five years old, and every season I look for, and never find, a suitable replacement. So...I just try to polish them and make them happy. They are a reddish-brown and have a polished look that I love.

Here's one of the looks from my warm-weather-fall days. I decided to play a little with this outfit; I paired my graphic print tee with a little fancier cardigan. I thought it was a fun deviation from my normal cardigan/silk shirt/skirt style. And this skirt is a little piece of heaven. It's an older skirt from J. Crew, and I love it so much that I baby it to try to keep it from getting faded. It's a dark wash denim, is cut like a pencil skirt, and is stretchy. Even though I have a new BR denim skirt I love, I'm still attached to this one.
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This cardigan might work.

And here's another option.

Penguin collector T-shirt

And here are a few options for graphic tees.

Tartan elephant collector T-shirt

Aren't they adorable?

Here is a similar riding boot.


And for another fall outfit option, I present my fall uniform:

The second example of my fall uniform is something I wore about a week later, when it was a bit chillier. This sweater is meant to be a fall/spring sweater. Its loose construction keeps it from being really warm, but it is perfect for a chilly fall day. As is to be expected, I put a chambray shirt underneath. I wore one of my pencil skirts from Banana and, of course, my riding boots. I actually have this pencil skirt in four other colors. I think I've written a love letter to it in the past, but I'll put the link back up on here. It's so versatile and comfortable.   

The boots in this picture are actually a different pair. I got them super cheap off season in the hopes that they could replace the ones shown above, but, alas, they don't really fulfill the same role. They're leather because I have a general rule that I would rather have fewer pairs of shoes but have them made out of more durable material. So I don't buy boots made of man made material if avoidable.

I couldn't find a similar sweater--so sorry, but I do have a chambray shirt skirt for you. Here ya go!

Pocket chambray shirt
Here's a shirt for ya!

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I think this is my skirt.

Image result for you can have whatever you like

Okay--I'm off to continue my day of whatever I want!

All the the next post...

Hi! Good news--I'm not dead. Bad news--I've actually had to become a fairly productive person, and I have to think a little bit to formulate words sometimes due to the sleep deprivation. But the sleep deprivation is only partly due to being a "busy and important person." Part of it might be because of Royal Pains and the weird dreams one has after watching people have strange medical conditions for multiple hours at a time. But I digress.

I decided to take one weekend and do whatever I want. Even just knowing this weekend was coming helped me work a bit harder to get through some school/grad school stuff and made me less overwhelmed. And it's interesting what you discover about yourself when you ask the question, "If given 2 days to do whatever, what would you do?" The answer for me, it appears is:

1. Sleep
2. Eat donuts
3. Read/write
4. Watch terribly cheesy movies
5. Wear athleisure clothing as much as possible and 90's grunge sweaters and jeggings when real clothes are required.

Oh--and 6. Drink chai lattes.

I think this confirms that I am, indeed, a basic white girl. But as I discussed with a few of my students this week, there's a good reason these trends are popular. Chai lattes are delicious, yoga pants are comfortable, and cheesy movies are a break for the brain. There's a perfectly good reason these things are consumed/worn en masse. And I am not going to feel bad about enjoying things that are enjoyable just because they're attached to stereotypes about people like me. So there. Excuse me while I go put my hair up in a messy bun...

Okay--so, all that to say that I have about a month's worth of outfits to show off. I didn't take pictures every day, but I did do what I could when I actually wore something that seemed like a somewhat good idea. The following posts are groupings of similar outfits that transitioned me from warm-fall to full-fledged cold fall. We're not quite at winter yet since I have been able to hold out and NOT wear my winter coat. I am, for no real reason, adamantly opposed to wearing my winter coat before Thanksgiving. Maybe I take those "everything has its season" thoughts a bit too seriously. 

Okay--so clearly I've missed writing over the last month...hence my long post. The ones ahead should be mostly pictures and links with a few tips on things like spirit week and parent conferences...and the need for friends.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

When Fall is Not so Fall-ish

Image result for horrible glassesI can't believe another week has already flown by. This week was more than a bit unusual. On Monday, we had professional development which I missed for an eye doctor's appointment. They dilated my eyes, and I didn't think to ask to pick out my new glasses before I lost my ability to properly I think I like my new glasses...they looked nice from a distance. It'll be a bit of a fun surprise when I see them without pupils the size of saucers. But I may end up looking like this.

We'll see...pun unintended, but I'm taking the credit for it.

Tuesday was a really muggy October day, and I wasn't so worried about it until I realized that the inside of my school was like the rain forest exhibit at the aquarium. Evidently a part of the AC broke and was being fixed. There's nothing quite like sweating in front of your students and knowing there's nothing you can do to stop it. You just try to keep your distance and pray for the best. Luckily, I wore this dark colored, short sleeve dress, so there weren't obvious signs (other than the look of distress on my face) that I was melting. But I knew, and it was gross. Luckily it was fixed pretty quickly and the next day things were chilly!

I bought this dress in June, but as we've established before, I don't really get dressed up in the last month of school, so this made its debut on Tuesday. I was a bit afraid that I would look like a Smurf when I went to change at the gym due to the dark wash jean material, and somehow I did not. Happy day! Also--this sucker is so stretchy and awesome that it somehow both conceals unfortunate features and feels like they made a dress out of yoga pants. The best of all worlds! I might have messaged my roomie to tell her that I would wear this dress every day if that was socially acceptable and I wasn't such a lazy laundress. And, it will not surprise you to know that this is denim. Later in the day I was thinking about my life and realized that I've probably own some form of a denim dress at all stages of my life. It's really only the shade and cut that change. 

I took another picture so you could see the shoes too. Unfortunately you can also tell that I am so pasty that my shoes and the wall are the same color as my legs. It's clearly time for tights, leggings, jeans and anything else that covers up my legs. 

I found a few options that I think might have similar benefits. This one has the word stretch in the description and looks super cute in the video. I will note that it has a slit in the back and one thing I love about my dress is that it does not. 
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Denim Ruffle-Front Dress

 On Wednesday we had an SAT testing day, and I must say that it went REALLY well. The woman in charge did an amazing job organizing it and her team of retired teachers that come in to organize things made it incredibly easy to proctor the test. There were post-it notes in the manual to tell me where to read, and they even highlighted the boxes we need to read. It was a thing of beauty. I feel like proctoring is like roulette. You might get a group of really sweet and awesome students or you might get kiddos that REALLY don't want to be there. We had some really nice kiddos, and my fellow proctors were awesome, so it was a great day. I think the smartest thing our school district did was declare it a half day. It's pretty miserable to try to teach kids who just took a 3 hour test. So it was nice to be able to send them home after lunch and have the afternoon to do things like write recommendation letters.

I'm currently sitting in an airport waiting to board my flight home for my mom's birthday!

I have lots of thoughts about being out, substitutes, and telling your students you're going to be out. I thought since I didn't really have many outfits worth talking about, I'd give some thoughts on being gone. 

When I was a new teacher, I was convinced that the world would fall apart if I was gone. And, I'll be honest, those first few years were pretty rough, and being gone was often more trouble than it was worth. It stunk to know I was going to come back and have to punish my students for being terrible while I was gone. But I also had a bit of a self-importance problem. 

As I've gotten older and more settled in my classroom, it's become easier, most of the time, to be gone. And I've also become aware that my students can indeed survive without me for a day or two. 
And I've also become more and more fearful of becoming Mr. Holland from Mr. Holland's Opus

Just today in the work room we were discussing what a terrible message that movie sends. Here's a guy who neglects his family and his own dreams to be a teacher and we're led to believe that it's okay that he gave up these MAJOR things because he helped his students. Don't get me wrong--I love my students and I love my job, but I don't believe teachers should be expected to give up their own families and dreams in order to teach. 

So--I've gotten better about taking a personal day here and there to go home for my mom's birthday or for a friend's Friday night wedding. I just realized that I wanted to be a good teacher AND a caring daughter and friend. And as teachers, it's easy to think you are doing the noble thing by never being gone, but let that pressure go. As long as you leave good sub plans and make sure the class period isn't wasted, it's okay to leave the children for a day in order to take care of yourself or others in your life. 

There is also the question about telling the kids. I would say that you have to decide what will work for you. I am super lucky and have really, really sweet kids this year, so I told them I was going to be out because I wanted to give them a heads up about what they would be doing. And while I keep much of my personal life to myself, I did tell them that it was my mom's birthday. They were adorable and kept telling me to have a good time and to tell my mom they said, "Happy Birthday!" For me, these little things are ways I can share my life with my students without oversharing. It builds a bit of community. I think you have to know your students though. There have been years when I kept my distance and really just stuck to the subject. I still took an interest in their lives and cared deeply about them, but I didn't share much of my life because any deviation from the lesson threw them off and made it hard for them to focus. 

So, to wrap up, here are my best sub tips:
1. Get to know the subs in your building and have a list of your favorites so you can request someone you feel comfortable leaving in charge of your class.
2. Leave a detailed note for the sub with a period-by-period break down of what each class will be doing. 
3. Post-it note all of the copies. Label which class the copies are for and whether the students need to hand them in or keep them.
4. Write a note for the students that tells them step-by-step what they need to do and what they can do if they finish early. I've found this to be a lifesaver because you never really know how well the substitute will explain your instructions to your students. (Sometimes you have class lingo that the students understand but doesn't really translate to someone who has never met you...). If the substitute passes out your letter, then you can hold the students accountable for the work even if the substitute was confused. 
5. Be free! Remind yourself that your students will be fine without you for a day. I hate to say it, but they might be excited about having a day to just put in their headphones and do their work. 

Okay--I'm off to go find a snack before my late night flight on a tiny plane.