Thursday, September 26, 2013

I couldn't help myself.

Today was the only day during spirit week that you could find me looking presentable for anyone outside of my high school. Of course, on Monday (pajama day), my sweet mother dearest asked me to visit her at the eye doctor to pick out glasses. I agreed only when she told me she'd bring me a snack and water. (At least I didn't ask for a juice box, but don't think that's below me. It's not. I love a good apple juice juice box as much as the next five-year-old.)

Okay, I usually buy nothing full price, but I could not help myself with this shirt. I just couldn't. Squeezing out $38 for it seemed preposterous, but my friend Megan was not at all helpful in preventing me from putting it on the counter. Plus, it called to me. I neeeded it. Just as much as I neeeded to buy a pair of turtle earrings for my turtle-loving sister-in-law. For-no-reason-at-all gifts are the best gifts, right?

I hope Fran hasn't given up on me and reads this post because I do believe she'll appreciate the artsy fartsy lighting in these photos.

This shirt will match so many things, but I went all minimalist because it speaks for itself. No?

The Outfit:
Shirt: Francesca's
Cardigan: Merona via Target
Pants: Celebrity Pink via Boscov's
Gold Flats: Audrey Brooke via DSW (for $19!!)

Please tell me the shirt was worth it. I need you to pet my ego for a moment.

The Details:
Occasion: Teaching (I needed to dress normally since I had a meeting at another school after the school day ended. Pajamas at the eye doctor was bad enough.)
Comfort Rating: 10 
Comments: I finally broke in these flats, so they don't dig into my heels when I wear them. These pants fit much better when accompanied by a belt, which you cannot see in these photos. This shirt is fifty shades of lovely.

Fun Fact: One of my students was late to class because s/he got his/her (anonymity is important here) knee stuck in the railings. Hysterical. Because everything worked out. And because why isn't it funny? 

Monday, September 23, 2013

If teaching you is wrong, then I don't want to be right.

Welcome to spirit week also known as "I will not be wearing real clothes" week.

In honor of being all school spirited, I feel inspired to write more educational posts this week. 

Today's lesson?

Be okay with being wrong.
(Also known as being human.)

When we teach something for the first time, most of us teachers quickly realize how much we still have yet to learn. Unfortunately, because we are often perfectionists and never wish to admit defeat, we try to pretend we are right even though we are most definitely wrong. Unless you are the world's greatest genius, then sometimes, just sometimes, a student proves you wrong. (I say "you" and not "we" because I cannot group myself with the geniuses of the world. You, however, might very well be the next Einstein. If you are, then your presence on this here blog befuddles me.) 

Anyway, be okay with being wrong. It's endearing...provided you do not make a habit of it.

When we give students a sneak peek into the humanity behind the curtain of our teacher hut, they respect us. They learn from us to be gracious about not always being right about everything or being okay with not always being right. (Some of those know-it-alls, who make us want to hit them in the face with a glazed doughnut, could really use some modeling of humility.) That way, when they approach a question with an answer from the planet Jupiter and we do not pat them on the head and say "good answer" for an answer that was not good, maybe they will not feel so embarrassed or hesitant about responding to another question because we've modeled how to admit wrong with grace.  

Sometimes, it's not always about being wrong but just admitting when we do not know the answer. At the beginning of my career, I thought my brain HAD to be a repository of all knowledge. No student could know more than I knew. Rather, my brain needs to be open to the idea of serving as omniscient repository. How does that saying go? Ignorant minds think they have little to learn, but wise minds realize how much they have yet to learn? Did I make that up? I know not. Instead of misspeaking, we can admit when we just don't know an answer, but we will "find out and report back." Or, we'd "love it if someone hopped on the internet now to find out that answer." They sure do love teaching us, and look at that! They are learning something at the very same time! Madness, I tell you. 

I have two examples from the past two weeks. While we were reviewing an AP multiple choice passage, a student questioned how the author could have been speaking at Cambridge University when he was living in America; the informational blurb provided this factoid. He certainly caught me off guard, so, during my planning, I did a little research into the matter and found out that the guide included a misprint. In fact, the author was not speaking at Cambridge University. He was speaking in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Did this information make a big difference in understanding the content of the passage? Not at all. However, did I make that student's day when I told him in the hallway that he was right? Absolutely. I couldn't answer his question right away, and he didn't care. He just cared that I took the time to inquire further and report back. 

Today, I confused two terms on a packet, so all of my students completely disagreed with me on the answer. I was like "no way, Jose. It has to be this way." I asked one of them to break down the answer. When she did, she straight up proved me wrong wrong wrong. She learned how to defend her answer, and I learned how bright yet another one of my students is. (Actually, quite a few of them offered valid answers. Their analysis impressed me.) Quite honestly, I said, "you all officially rattled my brain. I'm saving your response in my computer, stewing over it, and reporting back on Wednesday with the final verdict." They stated their case, and I didn't pretend to lord over them as giant, I-pretend-to-know-more-than-I-actually-do teacher. I believe those science people call that symbiosis? Mutual dependence, yes?

Now, I feel compelled to state that we should not make a habit of being wrong (like my 11th grade teacher who was convinced freedom included only one e) because then we lose our credibility. However, just as students appreciate the teachers who can reprimand and move on, they equally appreciate the teacher who can admit fault or ignorance and remedy it. Otherwise, how can we expect the same behavior from them?

In summary

Sometimes, what we teach our students is not nearly as important as how we teach them. Sometimes, our students' learning has more to do with who we are than what we say.

You can quote me on that. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dear, Educators

Dear, Educators,

In my first few years of teaching, I felt so overwhelmed by the curriculum, the system, the "man" smashing that intimidating mallet onto the table of education. This paranoia absorbed my thoughts and invaded my teaching. Teaching became my life goal at the wee age of four, but I wasn't having fun almost twenty years later. This job sucked. My creativity hovered on the brink of extinction. Quitting seemed the most tempting option, but the fear of "what else could I possibly be good at?" lingered in the bubble above my head. I didn't understand why my students didn't want to learn (especially because I found learning so invigorating), why so many students were "lazy," and why I had waited this many years to stand in front of a classroom of teenagers.

I felt defeated.

I cannot recall what prompted the revelation, but a few realizations finally poked me in my over-tired face:

1. Kids are kids.

They might try to act like adults, and we might try to treat them like adults, and they might face adult-like problems, but they are kids at the end of the day. I needed to stop expecting adult behaviors out of people who weren't yet developmentally adults, and why would I want them to be? Childhood should be filled with moments of stupidity; otherwise, we might never learn to be smart. My goal changed: learn how to work with, not against, the "stupidities" of childhood, especially because adulthood stupidities are far less forgivable. Teach them balance. Lead by example. Have fun with them. Set rules but don't allow those rules to compromise reasonability and flexibility.

2. Additionally, kids are kids wherever you go.

I know that statement sounds ridiculously redundant and thereby obvious, but we teachers forget how true that statement is. I have worked at two schools in my current county. The first earned a reputation of being a "zoo" full of thugs, yet I left because of the system, not the students, whom I miss in all of their fiery spunk even five years later. Despite the low morale that pervaded for the two and a half years I spent at that school, it still feels like home to me. Not only did I love those students, I loved my colleagues. I felt so united with many of them in our commiserations. However, the lack of effective leadership left me feeling incompetent, overwhelmed, and miserable. Couple those feelings with the misery of my compatriots and I morphed into a person I no longer liked. It was time to move on. The one administrator who tried so desperately to make a difference cried over my departure, and I could not help feeling as if I were betraying the people I grew to love.

Currently, I work at a school populated by a wealthier group, and people judge them just as, if not more, harshly than the students at my previous school. People label these kids snobs, the "rich" kids, the kids who have it all. When I speak with colleagues at my previous school, they snidely remark, "Oh, you have no problems at that school! All of the kids are so smart!" The truth of the matter is that the real snobs are the people who judge these students without ever having taught them. Quite honestly, snobs and thugs (in the vernacular of those who spend more time judging than knowing) exist at both of these schools. The problems the students at both schools face and create might vary, but they ultimately want the same things: to be accepted, to be respected, to be guided, to be independent, and to be loved. (Sometimes, they are just not sure about how to do these same things with other people.) If we don't treat people like people, how can we expect them to act like people? If we don't teach people to be people how can we expect them to act like people?

Note: I can tell stories about the crazy or obnoxious things my students do with the best of them, but I think anyone who meets me can clearly see how much I love these kids in spite of, and sometimes because of, their antics.

3. Stop blaming kids when you want to blame the system.

Before I entered the profession, I was completely oblivious to the educational system's red tape. The paperwork. The too-involved-for-their-kid's-own-good parents. The strict IEPs. The "new" curriculum. The changing of books. The politics. The meetings. The meetings about meetings. Good grief. It's enough to make a person's internal calendar combust and leave brain splatter on the walls. Of course, just as I often unleash my hormone-induced fury on my husband once a month because he's the closest target, I've found myself trying to blame my students for what's really a system-induced wrath. On those days, I need to take a step back and breathe. My students are not the problem. They've never been the problem. (Okay, sometimes they are the problem. No, making a jump rope out of paper clips does not make me laugh nor will I applaud you for your efforts.) But, you know what I mean. I know you do. Sometimes, we teachers are so stressed by the ever-increasing list of responsibilities that it impacts both our teaching and our perception of the students we teach. Something, in a more relaxed state of ours, that would prompt us to reprimand and move on, just lingers for the rest of the day.

Other times, if we sit down and reflect, we consider their "I'm bored," "I'll never need this," and "Can we just watch a movie/have nap time/do nothing?" comments. We realize that, every now and then, they are right, and we hate it. We are so cornered by standards and stress that we just can't find an exciting way (or the time to create an exciting way) to teach semi-colons. We are not The Oatmeal. Of course, that puts us on the defensive (because we had already been feeling guilty), and we just want to scream at them, "SOMETIMES LIFE IS BORING! SOMETIMES, YOU ARE ANNOYING! I DON'T GO AROUND POINTING IT OUT EVERY DAY!" But, usually, we refrain from popping the bubbles above our heads. We don't want them to be right that they'll never need this information, or that we've never shown them how they might need it. We don't want to acknowledge that they are as stressed as we are, and they're saying what we're wanting. Yes, dangit, I want a nap, too, BUT THERE ARE NO NAPS IN REAL LIFE, JUST LIKE THERE IS NO CRYING IN BASEBALL. (Okay, there are naps in real life, but they rarely leave us refreshed. Instead, we feel a mixture of feverish and delusional after waking up.) Yes, I want to watch a movie or sit down and do absolutely nothing, but we do not always get what we want. Deal.

Why are we all stressed and on edge? We are desperately trying to juggle paper grading, lesson planning, meetings, and that nebulous thing people call a "real life." Husband? I married a man? Pets? I adopted two of them? Friends? I have those? A brother? Not a sister? Who am I? Many of us are perfectionists who realize the impossibility of tackling it all. Even those crazy people on Pinterest aren't balancing it as beautifully as they portray. Once I remind myself of this information, I let up on myself and my students. I hope you can do the same.

4. Teaching, like life, is as fun as you make it. 

Sure, I've had some manic, patience-trying classes. That crew of twenty-six boys and three girls was quite the rowdy bunch. (Words fail me when I try communicating the pride I felt at their graduation.) However, I had to teach myself something: no matter how bad it gets, laugh every day. Turn this madness into a funny story later. Reprimand the behavior and move on. Once I adopted this mantra, I committed it to practice. Eventually, it became second nature. Now, I no longer look for reasons to laugh. The reasons surround me. I find that my positive attitude as a teacher directly reflects upon my students. Yes, I have bad days. Yes, I have to have some heart-to-heart conversations with them about the behaviors I will not tolerate from them. Yes, I sometimes want to throw pencils at overly obnoxious teenagers. However, I let it go. We teachers cannot harbor ill will toward our students. It's not fair to them or to us. Reprimand them and move on. It reminds me of the Buddhist quote, "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." If we resent our students for their misbehaviors instead of correcting them and simply moving on, it changes us as people and as teachers. That's what happened to me at the start of my career. I held on to too much and just could not let go. Once I started letting go, I started having fun.

5. My co-teacher, an incredible teacher, colleague, friend, and mother of four, always chants, "It's about the kids."

Whenever we have our moments of lunacy and frustration or we feel slighted by a comment from a student/colleague or an e-mail from a parent, she repeats that it's about the kids. She is right. With this profession, we have to leave our pride at the door. Though I have no personal experience, I imagine parenthood is much like that. When we want to take something personally, we can have our moment of frustration, but then we just have to remove ourselves from the equation. 

Teaching has taught me more than these five things, but these are the reminders I keep in mind in order to continue loving my career choice. I bet, like me, a lot of you were excited (despite some trepidation) about the coming school year. Now that about a month of the year is underway (for a lot of us), the stress is starting to pile.

With that stress in mind, my school year wishes for all of us is that we go easy on ourselves, have fun with and focus on our students, make the system our fill-in-the-blank-with-an-appropriate-word, and laugh every day.

Much educational love,
A Fellow, Sometimes Enlightened, Educator

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Send me good juju

I'm welcoming you to my awkward, should-have-brushed-my-ratty-hair-before-photos, bangs-doing-a-thing-of-their-own-creation, I-don't-know-how-to-retuck-my-shirt-after-using-the-bathroom kind of day. I do hope you enjoy it. 

The past week and a half, I have spent every day (except for today) working after school with students (some of whom I have never taught) on their college essays. As flattered as I am that they value my commentary, dude, I be pooped. Quite honestly, helping students invigorates me. However, I know that staying in the building until 4 means that I will encounter every jerk off driver during my hour-long commute, and that very thought exhausts me before I even stick the key in the ignition. I know some people drive even farther to work, and that's great for them and blah blah blah, but an hour is too much for me, especially because it drains two more hours of a day that I could be filling with helping more students, actually sneaking in a work out, and tending to that overflowing hamper in the bedroom. Oh, and spending time with my husband, who drives an hour and twenty minutes to work, sounds super. 

I have arrived at my point. After three weeks on the market, we finally have another showing tomorrow night! (Our area is apparently stupid slow for real estate at the moment.) We desperately want to live closer to work so that we can enjoy life before we attempt parenthood, and we can finally hang out with so many of our friends who live in that direction. SO, if you could do whatever it is you do to make things happen, we would appreciate all of the good juju we can get.  

And if my pleas are not enough, look! My shirt has gems on it! My hair needs brushing! I'm wearing the most boring color combination ever! And I like it! Yay! Exclamation marks!

The Outfit:
Shirt: LOFT
Blazer: Kenar via Marshall's 
Pants: Express (seriously, buy yourself a pair. Disappointed you will not be. Yoda. Go get you some.)
Shoes: BCBG via Boscov's (that happens? Sure.)

Occasion: Work, which involved reading aloud to three classes and watching group presentations in two classes. These are exciting times.
Comfort Rating: 10
Comments: A 10 for a outfit in heels? Whaaat? Believe it. These heels are the perfect height and are sinfully comfortable. As for these pants, they look like dress pants (because they are), but they feel like yoga pants. I'm not lying. Express needs to make them in every color. They are experimenting with this new cut to see how customers like them before they roll out more colors. I got that intel from one of the employees because I make friends when I shop. 

I must tend to this house and some paper grading.
Toodles, home skillets.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Blue, White, Plaid, and Funny Links :)

When Kimmie posted her monochromatic look (mink necklace and top) yesterday, I immediately thought of this outfit. After I thought about how adorable Kimmie is! I then followed her link to Kendi whose outfit I unintentionally copied. But, my shoes are PLAID, and my skirt has POCKETS. That has to earn me some street cred, no?

I have a few funny links for you today:
1. 27 Reasons Why Parents Shouldn't Be Allowed to Text -- I think I cried from laughing. Everyone can relate to this one. Unless you are as antiquated as your parents and own no phone.

2. Thug Notes -- This dude provides a synopsis and analysis (thug style) for many classic texts. Yet again, I laughed hyena style.

3. Surviving Whole Foods -- I want to be friends with the writer of this blog post. Every single sentence is funny. Not kidding. Not exaggerating. 

One of my students and I said "guess what day it is? HUMP DAY!" at the very same time today. 
I love my job.

The Outfit:
Shirt: Target (LOVE their t-shirts)
Skirt: Olive and Oak via Marshall's
Flats: Rock and Republic via Kohl's (I feel like I need a smoking jacket and a high-backed leather chair when I wear these)
Necklace: New York & Co.

Occasion: Work, which involved a lot of reading aloud and taking notes on a student discussion
Comfort Rating: 9 (the skirt is a smidge snug)
Comments: I wore a gray cardigan over the shirt when my classroom chilled off a bit too much. I love pockets. Too much. What girl doesn't?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fake lace.

The amount of tragedy that inundates our country (and all countries), at a disturbingly quicker rate, forces so many of us to reevaluate our humanity and the humanity of our compatriots. Maybe the rate has not increased but rather our awareness of it? Social media outlets allow us instant access to all of this information, so we are never without constant reminders of tragedy. It pains me every time I read about another shooting and it pains me every time I listen to people debate the gun issue (versus the "how to make humans better humans" discussion.) For those of you still in the dark, a gunman killed thirteen people and injured at least three others at D.C.'s Navy Yard. Too much sadness for our collective heart to hold. 

As a result, I must remind myself of the beauty within the darkness. Today, one of my students graciously offered to make online flashcards for his classmates to use. He and several classmates brimmed with excitement, chattering about all of the ways I could use Quizlet in my classroom. They created an account for me and showed me how to use it. 

These teenagers illuminate the darkness. There is hope. There really is.  

Today's outfit is quite beautiful, too. In a vain, "everybody come see how good I look" kind of way. 
Go get ya some.
My shirt has a lace print, but it's not actually lace. Tricky tricky.

The Outfit:
Shirt: New York & Co. (couldn't find it online)
Skirt: American Eagle Outlet (similar)
Shoes: Marc Fischer via Macy's
Belt: Came with a dress
Necklace: New York & Co.

The Details:
Occasion: Classroom (teaching, obviously)
Comfort Rating: 10
Comments: I love this shirt; I wish I could've found it for you online! (It's not very old at all. Not even a month old, so maybe you can find it in the store?) I am so happy I bought this skirt in gray and wine. By far two of my favorite sartorial purchases of the year. I especially love the pleats because they disguise/resist wrinkles. Plus, they keep the skirt from hugging too tightly. I really am in love with the color of this skirt. It's not right to be such a lovely color; it's making all of the other colors jealous. 

I previously wore the skirt this way. I wore its charcoal gray counterpart this way and this way
How might you style it? I'd love to hear (er, read?) the ways. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Back-Up Plan

I previously styled this dress these six ways

I decided to wear an orange cardigan instead of a brown one. Orange and turquoise make a nice pairing, no? Originally, I wanted to wear this dress with the same sweater and belt (leopard flats instead of gold ones), but it seemed too short when I put it on. Now that I'm looking at the pictures of it in that post, I am thinking it would've been fine. Dangit. 

I wish I had something more for you today, but I'm completely distracted by Sheldon Cooper. Forgive me. 

The Look:
Dress: Banana Republic Outlet
Cardigan: NY & Co.
Belt: Came with another dress
Flats: Audrey Brooke via DSW
Necklace: Gift
Earrings: Boutique

The Details
Occasion: work (91 degrees again today, so pants just weren't happening)
Comfort Rating: 9 (I ate a little too much, and the belt felt constricting.)
Comments: I'm glad I branched out a bit and went with a colored cardigan versus a neutral one. I can't wait to wear this dress with booties and a button up once it's not a sauna outside. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fourth Day Hair

Hello, Internet, I'd like you to meet my fourth day hair also known as my "I value sleep more than my hair" hairstyle. In my defense, I washed my bangs and my body, so I wasn't dirty. Let's call me resourceful and efficient, not grody.

Our English department was gifted substitutes for the day so that we could grade diagnostic essays as a team...allllll the live long day. I knew the thermostat would breech 90 degrees today, so I opted for a dress. (I even shaved this morning despite my unwashed hair.)

I was wildly comfortable all day until the wind decided to play peek-a-boo with my wrap dress as I walked out of the building carrying so much stuff that I nearly faceplanted into the pavement in an effort to keep the world from seeing my lady bits. Perverted wind.

The Outfit:
Dress: Banana Republic Outlets this summer (got it for like $25 bucks or something equally inexpensive--bought it the same day as this dress)
Shoes: Jessica Simpson via Marshall's
Necklace: Good question--can't remember
Earrings: The Limited
Hair bow: Forever 21

Still working with Jeff on that whole detail shot business. Baby steps.

I know the second clip looks silly. (Okay, I didn't know that until I viewed this picture. Dangit.)
However, it pulls in the color of my shoes, and it's just cute. Ignore its little friend chilling below it.
Hair clips need companions too. 
I've also worn it with this dress

By the way, this is the first wrap dress that I've ever owned. They never look right on me, but I think this one is a winner. I hope?

The Details:

Occasion: Work (marathon of essay grading)
Temperature: Hot outside and bearable inside
Comfort Rating: 8 (wind picked up my dress, and I didn't master the wrapping well enough, which forced me to readjust several times while sitting.)
Comments: I love the button details on the shoulders of this dress. I can wear it without a tank if I'm not at work. I'm so excited to wear this dress with boots in the fall!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Luna Lovegood

Apparently, I need to catch up on my Harry Potter books/movies. 
A student I've never taught told me I look like Luna Lovegood, and you can imagine my joy upon finding that she's a good character and kinda cute. 

Anyway, meet my third-day hair because I set my alarm clock to some weird static sound, which did not wake me up but rather induced loopy dreams. There may or may not have been some yet-to-exist animal frolicking in sparkly fields. Husband decided not to wake me up until 30 minutes later. 
Gee. Thanks. 

The Outfit:
Cardigan: Target
Pants: The Limited (in exact stretch straight leg)
Heels: Aerosoles via Marshall's
Top: The Limited 
Belt: NY & Co.

The Details:

Wore to: work
Comfort Rating: 9 (heels started to tug juuust a smidge at the very end of the day)
Comments: These pants are so comfortable, and they hit at the perfect length (and plumber's crack for me.) I decided to try this color combination on for size. I've already done the cognac, white, and black thing, and I loved it. I threw some maroon/wine/burgundy/whatever color it's called now into the mix, along with some leopard, and I'm a fan. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The skinny on my skinnies

I own a lot of work pants. The problem with about ten pairs is that they don't look good with flats and heels. In fact, I struggle to find any shoes that go well with them. (I bought most of them years ago, and I bought them solely because I liked the color and the price.)

I decided to keep the pants because I thought I might have an epiphany about how to wear them. And an epiphany I had. I realized that the only part of these pants that annoyed me was the cut. Plus, every time I hunted for the same colors in a fit that I liked, I came up empty. Enter my epiphany. I did a little search on Pinterest for "making skinny pants." (Feel free to peruse my DIY Fashion board here.) Note: I could have taken these pants to a tailor, but that was money I did not want to spend. I also like learning new things :)

For these pants, I read this tutorial and this one. However, after my troubles, I viewed this video, which comes from this blog. I like her method much better. Plus, she explains how to avoid some of the same problems I ran into while on my adventure of pant fixing.

I'm not going to provide you a tutorial because these work just fine, but I'll tell you some tips (from a novice) and materials.

Necessary materials: seam ripper, sewing scissors, pins, chalk/fabric marker, and sewing machine.


  • Do NOT cut your pants until you've tried them on with the new stitching. For the first leg I did, I couldn't squeeze my calf into the pants. I needed my handy seam ripper to fix that mistake. 
  • If you don't have a fabric marker, chalk works just fine. You moms out there probably have sidewalk chalk just chilling in your house. (One tutorial recommends a Sharpie. If you use the first two tutorials, I do not recommend Sharpie because it can get on the pants you're using as a pattern, which is another reason I suggest the video.) 
  • Read both tutorials and watch the video before you begin. 
  • I completely finished one leg before the other, which I thought was good because I could measure the unfinished leg against the finished one. I sort of used the finished leg as a pattern for the other one. It helped me keep them identical. 
  • If you don't want to sew and have a good tailor, they can do this for you :) 

pant leg comparison in my seemingly yellow hallway...

My pseudo emo look 

Originally, I had "charcoal straight/skinny work pants (must have belt loops)" on my closet holes list. I now can cross that item off the list without having spent any money. Win! 
The shirt is recent and from Old Navy. The heels are NOT recent and are Aerosoles from Marshall's. 
Once we sell this house and I don't have to worry constantly about not making messes, I will move on to my pair of brown work pants. I think I'll go for more of a straight leg with those. 

I hope this post prevents you from donating/selling a pair of pants just because you dislike the bottom half of your bottoms :)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

I'm on a boat.

Not actually, but I could be. If flats, anchor scarves, peplum, and seersucker blazers were boat appropriate. 

I'd have better pictures for you, but shopping for my niece's first birthday trumped taking pictures on my porch. Obviously, a trip to Toys R Us must be rewarded with a quick stop into New York & Co. I decided the dressing room was the prime location to snap some pictures of the casual Friday outfit I loved so much. Stripes, seersucker, and anchors. How can a girl go wrong? Okay, a girl could go horribly wrong, but I think this ensemble is so right. If fashionable teenagers compliment it and ask where everything is from, then it must be a winner. Had a boy wearing "slides" and tall socks (worst trend ever to not die soon enough) said anything, I would've found a replacement outfit. STAT. 

I love this peplum shirt. Funny: I bought it within the past year at NY&CO, and that just so happens to be where I took the pictures. Fate. 

The Details:
Shirt: NY&Co
Pants: The Limited
Sparkly flats: DSW
Blazer: Tommy Hilfiger outlet 

This outfit went well from work to impromptu dance party in the classroom to drinks with colleagues to sushi with Jeff. Good job, outfit. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Teacher Wardrobe Series: One Dress Six Ways

It's Tuesday, so let's call it Teacher Tuesday. I'm bringing back the Teacher Wardrobe Series with this striped dress (actually featured in the series). Sure, you will run into a plethora of striped dress inspiration on Pinterest, but I'm giving you six looks with one one place. You can use the same formulas for a dress shell that you own. It doesn't necessarily have to be striped, but I told you before that a striped dress is a great staple to own in your teacher (or any career, really) wardrobe.

I bought this striped shell at the Banana Republic Outlet for like $25. I love it, but I have yet to wear it. Of course, I am entering only week two of the school year, so I think I can forgive myself. Anyway, I created looks that span all seasons because, if your classroom is anything like mine, you never know what the temperature will be.

Look #1:
The Formula = Belted cardigan + statement necklace (or a scarf)
(I wore gold wedges to make it feel more like summer. I could wear it with boots for a cooler day or heels for the snazzy factor.)
Seasons: The short-sleeve cardigan works well for warmer weather. Swap it out for a long-sleeve cardigan in the cooler months. Try swapping out the necklace for a scarf with this look. You can even belt the scarf with the cardigan (like this). 

Look #2:
The Formula = Neutral blazer + statement necklace
(I chose gold flats for this look since the blazer dresses up the outfit enough.)
Seasons: Please wear this blazer when it's cooler or the AC actually works. I was sweltering in this thing because my bedroom is toasty. I would not swap the necklace for a scarf with this look. I think a statement necklace works better with the blazer. 

Look #3:
The Formula = Colored belt + (daintier) statement necklace + cardigan
(For this look, I would choose heels or dressier flats.)
Seasons: Just like with look #1, you can swap a short-sleeve cardigan for one with long sleeves. You could also swap the cardigan for a blazer. To take this dress to the park after school, substitute the cardigan for a jean jacket and be sure to wear flats. (Obviously.)

Look #4:
The Formula = Colored blazer + chain necklace + chambray (rolled sleeves)
(For shoes, I would choose boots, flats, or wedges.)
Seasons: If you want to be warm, wear this look. Holy hotness alive. I love this color scheme, but I was dying a little. I couldn't peel the dress off quickly enough. I think this look would be perfect with boots in the winter. 

Look #5:
The Formula = chambray (or a white shirt) under the dress + draping necklace
(To make the look dressier, I would wear heels, or maybe some cute oxfords.)
Seasons: You're wearing a shirt with long sleeves under a dress. Do it during the cooler months. Unless you like sweat marks in your pits. Or you don't sweat.
Also, as I'm looking at this photo, I would trade out this necklace for something with color. I was so hot at this point that I couldn't think clearly.

Look #6:
The Formula = T-shirt (under dress) + statement necklace + neutral belt
(For shoes, I would wear booties or flats. This look seems best suited for a Friday.)
Seasons: If it's warm and you don't want to bare arms (bah ha ha), then put a t-shirt on underneath of your dress. Or, if you prefer not to show your shoulders for other reasons, then this look works well for warmer weather. If you like to wear layers in the winter, try a blazer/cardigan over top. Since this look seems the most casual of all, I think it'd be fun with some booties. 

I merged all of the looks into two collages in case you want to see them side by side. 

If you want to e-mail me some of your best teacher looks (one-three pictures) with links to your blog posts about those looks, I'll start featuring some readers' outfits next week. It does not have to be a striped dress, and you don't have to be a teacher. 
It just needs to be workwear for the sensible, everyday gal.  

E-mail your pictures to

Linking up with 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Gray Maxi, Printed Belt, & Red Flats

Ragweed, we meet again.

This time of year always arrives with a swift kick to the nasal cavities and eyeballs for me. Even though I take my Allegra and squirt drops in my eyes, the ragweed still wins. Since this allergy did not crop up later in life like many of my other allergies, time has allowed it to percolate in my system, making me more allergic every year it seems. My itchy eyes woke me up this morning to say, "helloooo, we're red, we hurt, and you need drops." Thankfully, I haven't had any of those fake sneezes. You know the ones I mean: they tickle your nose and make your eyes water, but they NEVER come out. Sneezes that refuse to exit the nose are the worst. I'm lucky. Also, so far, I've managed to dodge the "throat itches so badly that cough syrup with codeine is all that gets me through the night" bullet. I hope the perpetual drinking of water keeps me safe. I need my beauty rest. No one wants to see the troll under the bridge that I can become.

Though I am allergic to ragweed (and everything else that grows), I am far from allergic to maxi skirts, especially this one. I know I wrote about it several posts ago (here and the wine-colored version here), but like Icona Pop says, I don't care. I love it.

The Look:

T-shirt: Target 
Belt: Target (such a long time ago)
Maxi Skirt: American Eagle
Necklace: American Eagle
Red Flats: Urban Outfitters

I finally have a close-up picture of the necklace that receives more compliments than any other piece of jewelry that I wear. People love the bicycle. 

The Details:

Occasion: Work 
Comfort Rating: 9 
Comments: I say 9 only because my classroom was HOT, and sweaty legs + maxi skirts = no bueno. Okay, sweaty legs + anything = no bueno. Perhaps, I am being unfair to the skirt. In the right climate, the skirt is a 10. I'm so glad I bought it in two colors. I like covering up the elastic wasitband with a belt or a knotted shirt. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Emerald and Floral

After I buy new clothes, I make it a point to try on each item as a part of three, as-different-as-possible outfits. I thought I'd share two of today's shirts. (I also picked up two others, but my bedroom was wayyyy too hot to continue taking off and putting on clothes. I'll try again tomorrow. Maybe.)
I used gift cards for these two shirts.
The floral one is Lauren Conrad's via Kohl's and the emerald green one is Apt.9 also from Kohl's.

Floral Top

Outfit 1
This skirt has pockets, so I love it. I have yet to wear it (stupid!). Now that I have the perfect shirt for it, I think I'll wear it for Back to School Night on Tuesday. Genius.
This outfit might seem too "spring," but I think some brown boots and a solid color scarf will take it right into cooler weather. It's still in the 80s and 90s, so it's fine or now. 

 Outfit 2
Good grief, this outfit is warm. It's perfect for cooler weather. The blazer dresses it up for work. A pair of olive dress pants (in place of these pants) would make it even more work appropriate. However, skinny pants are acceptable at my school. I need a longer, gold pendant necklace to complete the ensemble.

Outfit 3
Perfect for a casual Friday at work. 

I think this top would work well with white jeans, maybe with an olive green button up thrown over it. 
Any other suggestions?

Emerald Blouse

Outfit 1
Probably my favorite of the three outfits. I just love emerald, black, and white together. Almost as much as I love cobalt, black, and white together. Almost. I'm so wearing this outfit to work when it's not a billion degrees in my classroom.
(I also wore these pants this way.)

 Outfit 2
I've worn this paisley skirt before (here), and I like it with emerald. I could've tucked the shirt, but I decided to create tucked and tied looks with this shirt. 

I like this necklace that a friend bought for me, so I decided to wear it a bit like a "bow" tie with this top. Look at me being all clever. Yeah, I went with emerald, black, and white/silver again. What of it?

Feel free to throw some more ideas my way! 
Go on and make these shirts worthy of staying in my closet. 
Oh, and is anyone else as obsessed with Lauren Conrad's clothing line as I am?