Sunday, September 17, 2017

Wednesday, Thursday, and My Mid-Week Choices

This post is going to be about as basic as a girl wearing yoga pants, drinking a PSL and Snapchatting, but I wanted to post these outfits since they are generically useful ideas.

Somehow I made it a week and a half before wearing chambray (possibly a new record for me), but Wednesday was the day that streak ended. I bought this skirt in the spring, and even though it looks a bit like a blanket you would use for a picnic, I love it.

The shirt is one I've worn before. It works with black jeans on a Friday and is a good option to wear with all those cute patterned shorts in the summer. I like it because it lets me wear a fun necklace and it's a neutral that isn't white or off-white or black. I paired this outfit with my favorite sandals and some fun jewelry.

For some reason, probably because it was the day after Back to School Night, I decided that an after school Slurpee was in order. And it was a good decision. It typically is.

Here are a few options if you're looking for a similar look. (Side note--I love this skirt also because the material is something that can span the seasons a bit. I have a yellow sweater I wore with it in the Spring, and I'm thinking I'll pair it with a few other lightweight sweaters and some boots before fall ends.)

As a random note, I only buy my pencil skirts from J Crew Factory and Banana. I'm sure plenty of other companies make lovely skirts, but pencil skirts are just a tricky purchase (They're supposed to be fitted, so I want to REALLY trust that the skirt is well constructed...ya don't want to have a fashion crisis in the middle of class...AWKWARD!). So I'm not saying these are the only options, but as I've said so many times before, once I find a store/style I trust, I tend to stick with it.

Here's the basic style in the summer material.
Pencil skirt in double-serge cotton

And here's the winter version.

And then there are these cute patterned versions.

I'm 99% this is the skirt I have, but if not, I still trust their skirts.

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As for jewelry, most of this has been posted before, but here are some options for the necklace. (They no longer have this exact one.) I think it's the only new thing.

I feel like you could wear this basically every day.
Brass-plated crystal necklace

And a bit more colorful option
Multi-color gemstone blossom necklace

On Thursday, I knew it was going to be warm, and I was starting to feel tired from the week's activities and grad school homework, etc. As I put this outfit on, I knew it was too summer-y, but I just didn't care. When a co-worker commented that I looked so summer-y, I replied, "I know. It's the wrong season."

Either way, when I remembered that we had a fire drill, I was glad to be in a comfortable skirt and sandals.  Actually, this was the reaction I had when I realized I had worn "sensible" shoes on fire drill day:

After these pieces go through the laundry, they'll be tucked away until the spring, but I didn't mind the level of comfort for a Thursday. And if you're looking for an outfit for the spring, here are some similar pieces:

This would be adorable for spring.
Ruffle-neck tank top

I think the stripes might be a cool way to mix patterns...but I'm not sure.
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Here's the summer/spring version of the skirt.
This and the pencil skirt from above are two of the styles that J Crew Factory seems to constantly stock. They just seem to switch fabric for the seasons.
Ikat sidewalk skirt

Here's the fall/winter version of the skirt.
Wool sidewalk skirt

As for the sandals, here's a cute, similar option.
Sweeti Flat Sandal

And here's an option that's a little more dressed-up.
Raeleen Sandal

Okay--well, I'm off to switch my laundry and do the other 1,000 tasks one does on a Sunday evening.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Back to School, Back to School...

Tuesday brought with it a busy, but good, night. Back to School Night (or BTSN if you will) always makes you feel a bit nutty since you only have 10 minutes with each class period's parents and you say the same thing multiple times. By the last period, you can't really remember if you told this class that already or if you just said it to a different class ten minutes ago. As I type this I realize that it's really not that different than every other day as a teacher...

Anyway, it's always good to bring your teacher A game to BTSN, and this year I broke out my birthday pants. My parents sent me two pairs of pants I had asked for last May for my birthday. I tried them both on, decided they looked better online, and took them back to exchange them for other pants. And then I never wore them since it was the last month of school and putting an outfit together that requires multiple pieces was just not something I was up for that late in the year.

So they hung in my closet for months.  Poor pants. I imagine this is how they've felt on all those lonely summer days:

But alas, their moment to shine arrived on Tuesday. I decided that these would be a good choice for the day since I was planning on staying at school from the start of the day until the night was over. And while I have made plenty of bad fashion decisions in the past (and my mom insists on leaving those pictures hanging up on the wall), this was a good decision. These pants are the stuff that teacher dreams are made of. 

I'm a bit in love with these pants since they look like real pants and feel like yoga pants. I might have said, "Check this out" and then demonstrated their awesomeness to a couple of colleagues. They're the best! I paired these with a black shirt I love (It has a bow on it. Reason enough to love it.) and a blue cardigan. So--I'm pretty sure no one who knows me is surprised that I picked neutrals with a pop of color. And the Dak Prescott shoes (in a different color) also got their moment as well. I threw on some silver bracelets and earrings to finish it off. 

As for the actual evening, I've found a few things helpful for me:

As parents walk in, I give them an index card and ask them to tell me anything about their student that they think I should know but the student might not tell me. I also ask for their email so I can add them to a Google folder that I use throughout the year to house assignment sheets, etc. 

I find that index cards work better than a sign-in because all parents can complete the task at once and there isn't a back-up while they wait to sign-in or a concern about the clipboard getting to everyone. 

I keep the spiel pretty basic and try to focus on the big picture of what I want the kids to get out of their time in the class.

I make sure to tell them the dates for the quarterly Writers' Nights so they can mark their calendars now, and I end by mentioning that if they have an extra box of Kleenex hanging around the house, I will happily take it off their hands. 

And before you know it, the night is over. 

As for outfit help, here are some options for a BTSN ensemble: 
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Primary Image of Tie Front Shell

Clare cardigan sweater

Frankie Wedge Pump

Okay--well, I hope that helps! 

Back to School Night, Baseball, and Other Things That Keep Me Up Past My Bedtime

Sometimes as a teacher, you have weeks when you actually get to have both a life and a job. This was one of those weeks. But I'll be honest; in order to have both, I needed plans that were made before I realized that I'd be tired and would be tempted to just be a little old lady staying at home.

This week contained the following:
1. The reinstatement of my Bible study group 
2. Back to School Night
3. A Wednesday night in which I skipped both yoga and a baseball game in order to sit at home and do nothing
4. Two baseball games

I would normally say it's a terrible idea to cram this much into one week, but it actually was a great week. And I was so glad to see people I love and get to spend some time at one of my favorite places--Nats Stadium. 

But I'll be honest. As a teacher, it's super easy to talk yourself out of seeing friends or going to something in the middle of the week by telling yourself that you should be doing something for work. Truth--sometimes that's the reality of the job. If grades are due that week, it's probably not the best time for an impromptu night out. But if you know 2 weeks in advance that one of your best friends is going to be in town, then it's probably reasonable to make plans with her. And as much as sleep is important, every now and then it's worth a little bit of lost sleep to remind yourself that you are, indeed, a human and that you are allowed to live a life that doesn't revolve around everyone else. I'm thoroughly convinced that taking time to be a human will keep you from being one of the teacher burnouts that people love to reference. And I'm also convinced that I begin to resent my students if I give up everything I am for them. Balance is key. 

I will now step off my soapbox and into my outfit rundown.

Monday's outfit is one of my favorite trick outfits. Any time I wear this dress and someone compliments me, in my head I'm thinking, "This is basically one of those old man sleeping shirts with a belt. It's like wearing pajamas to school." 
I might have said this to one of my male colleagues when he complimented me. This might explain why I'm not very good at being a girl. I think I was supposed to just say, "Thanks." and walk away. 
Image result for men's pajama gown

As for the details of this one, this is a moment of honesty, which I think is important. I bought this dress and 3-4 others at the beginning of the last school year. I had gained enough weight that most of my clothes were uncomfortable, unflattering, and just generally made me feel terrible all day. I decided that I didn't want to meet my new students while wearing clothes that made me feel so insecure. So I went out and purchased just enough new things to get through fall. And I tried to buy things that would still work even if I, as I was hoping would happen, got back in shape and could fit back into my "old clothes". That shopping trip was a life saver. Once I had clothes that fit and I liked, I felt so much better. And now that I'm in a better routine when it comes to exercising, these dresses still work even as I've been able to get back into some of my old stuff. When I used to watch "What Not to Wear" religiously, I remember them always telling women to not wait until they had perfect bodies before they dressed in clothes they liked. This is some of the best advice I've heard or could give. So I tell you my chubby story to say, if your clothes don't fit and you can afford it, go buy some that do. Don't torture yourself. 

This dress is from Ann Taylor's outlet store, but here are some other options:

Primary Image of Poplin Ruffle Neck Belted Shirtdress

Primary Image of Belted Short Sleeve Shirtdress

Primary Image of Fall Mosaic Shirtdress

Harlet Sandal

I went with basic gold jewelry for this outfit, so here are some options similar to mine:

Gold link bracelet

Golden cuff bracelet

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Triangle Open Hoop Earring

I'm going to post another entry with my Back to School Night outfit and advice and some other outfits from the week. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Flowers, Fridays, and Other Things That Make Me Happy

The end of the first week of school is always a good reminder that you spent the summer being anti-social and are not used to being around other people all day. As a somewhat introverted person, by the end of the first week back, I'm normally uniquely tired even as I'm excited to get back in the rhythm of the school year.

I feel like if you talk to any teacher about their plans for the first weekend of the year, it's something low key and possibly involving tons of sleep.

As for clothing, since Thursday was only the second day I'd seen half of my students, I kept the dress rather professional. I try to make sure I have my classroom procedures all set and routines in place before I start to mix in some more casual outfits. This Thursday was kind of crazy, so I didn't get a picture of my outfit until I got to the gym, so this is a terrible picture.

But this is another Banana dress that came from a sale. This is a petite dress. I think it took me a while to figure out how my height worked with petites and shorts and regular lengths. Not that anyone would want to know this much about my weird frame, but I've found that I am not really a petite because it's not my entire frame that needs a special size. I just have short legs. But, I have found that for some dresses, it works better for me to buy a petite since it keeps it from being too long. So basically, petite tops never work, petite dresses often work, and pants in short instead of petite are best. As you can tell, that's a bit of complicated order. I only bring this up to say that finding what sizes work can be complicated, but I think it's worth taking the time to try on all options and figure out what works. Obviously this isn't a problem for tall people...just us travel-sized people. I'm not complaining though. I actually don't mind my height even if my classroom clock has been wrong since daylight savings time because I can't reach it.

Anyway--I give that whole spiel to say know what fits you, even if it's a weird combination. Being short doesn't mean you are a petite, and just because you have short legs doesn't mean that you have the torso of a petite person. Take the time to shop around and figure out your body size. And in this case, the petite dress fit me better than the "regular" dress. Either way, I was still in "dress for success" mode on Thursday, and I opted for another one of the dresses that I have slowly acquired since finding that Banana dresses and I are friends. 

As for some options for similar dresses, here are a few dresses:
Primary Image of Draped Ponte Sheath Dress

Short-sleeve printed dress

I give you these three options to say that there are some really fun dresses out there, and I love wearing something a bit dressier for the first week of school.

I'm also rockin' the T-Straps in this outfit because I wanted heels, but my feet were looking a bit like a ballerina's after the first few days. I evidently really lived in my Chacos and Birks, and my feet were not quite ready to be confined to real shoes, so I needed something kind to my feet. These definitely fit that description. 
Naturalizer Megan
I know they are a bit pricey, and I'm betting I got mine on sale since I'm pretty cheap, but I will say that I've had mine for 3 years, and they've held up pretty well. They're my go-to shoes anytime I know it's going to be a long day but I want to wear heels. 

So, here are my lessons from my last "dressy" outfit of the first week:
1. If you can build up a wardrobe of dresses you love, buying one or two a year, you'll eventually have an arsenal of first-week outfits that fit you well and make you feel like the boss lady you are. 
2. Take the time to try on different cuts--if a store has 3 or 4 styles of pants, try them all. If they offer petites and you aren't particularly tall, try them out. Learn what fits you well.
3. Find a pair of heels that will be your security blanket. Find a shoe company that works for your feet. 

On Thursday night, my principal sent an email encouraging us to wear our school t-shirts. If you read this little blog last year (not assuming you did), you know how I feel about wearing school spirit shirts on Fridays. So, when I got this email, I thought about all of the things I would be willing to do for this new principal that I love so much, but I found myself singing: 

I went for a bit of a different look. Here's what I chose instead:

I've had this cardigan for years, but I love it because it's that weird material that is thin but warm. As per the Ms. Taylor wardrobe, I kept the rest neutral. The long, flowy shirt was super comfortable but since it's a silk material, I think it gives it a bit dressier look than it feels like. I actually ended up having to go home to change anyway since I had a baseball game to get to and I knew it was going to get a bit chilly, but I wanted to start off the year with a Friday look that was fun for me.

Last year, I think I talked a few times about the Friday night struggle to not just melt into your couch. Getting back out of the house on the first Friday of the year was a bit of a challenge, bu it was totally worth the struggle of getting myself out of the house again since it was a great night to be outside, I had fun company and my fave--Michael A Taylor-- hit an in-park grand slam. I didn't even know that was an option until Friday night. But that's not even my favorite recent Taylor accomplishment. The night before he robbed a guy of a home run, straightened his cap and got back to work. He's kinda the best...

Anyway--for Friday outfits, I'm a big fan of using Friday as a chance to get to wear my weird kinda-casual/kinda-work-ish outfits. And, as I've said before, these in between outfits keep me from going home to change after work and never actually leaving the apartment.

This one is a bit of a uniform for me--a silk shirt, a cardigan, skinny jeans, booties, and some jewelry.

I guess this would fit the schoolmarm label my co-worker gave me, but I don't think I care.

Here are some options for this season since all of these pieces are crazy old:

Here's a long cardigan option.
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And here's a cute option.

V-neck cardigan sweater

And this one has cute buttons on the sleeves.
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As for shirt options, there are some really cute ones out there. Here's one option that I kind of love:

Ruffle-front tank

I think these stripes might look cute with a cardigan.

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And, for some reason, I kinda love the big bow on this one.
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And here's a pretty basic option.
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And, lately I've been a bit obsessed with the return of '90s fashion--maybe because I was a little grudge-ish kid in the '90s and I want a chance to wear all the girly stuff I missed while living in baby tees and second hand Levis. Either way, I kinda love this shirt.

product photo

The shoes are the same ones I've been rockin' for a while.

As for jewelry, I'm all about the big gold earrings, and here are a few options:

Breckin Interlocking Circle Drop Earring
Basic gold earrings

Something a bit fancier

And one final option

Okay--so, here are my Friday fashion tips before I head to bed:
1. Find a Friday fashion that not only works for your classroom, but works for your post-work life.
2. Follow all of the school rules and dress codes. Do the things that are asked of you, but if you have a good reason to not want to join in on something optional, that's okay.