Classroom Novels

I recently submitted a Donors Choose project for a class set of the novel Wonder by RJ Palacio. To be honest I hadn’t read it, but the reviews were outstanding and I needed a new novel to begin in January. Luckily my project was funded within 24 hours, thanks to the Kia and Disney match promotional codes. Now I await the arrival.

I went ahead and read the story this weekend, as I was curious, obviously. To be honest, I wasn’t all that impressed. I mean, it has a great message and is totally relevant to my students’ lives, but I wasn’t left feeling “wowed” like I had after reading some of my faves as a kid.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, The Giver, and Island of the Blue Dolphins will always be my favorites. Wonder doesn’t even begin to compare. There’s no real climax and everything feels kind of too perfect at the end. Needless to say, I was disappointed. I know my students will love it and I’ll use it for a few years, but I just don’t see it becoming a classic like the others.

So what are your all-time favorite young adult novels? Am I totally wrong about Wonder? Is there something more contemporary that I should be reading in order to share with my students? Enlighten me!

In the meantime, here’s how I’ve been keeping up with the winter weather and bipolar temps in Indiana.

A great thrifted find on Instagram from @nyc_closetz

A classic look, thanks to J. Crew Factory

The amazing herringbone vest I mentioned in the previous post.

Another thrifted Instagram find from the retail J. Crew. It’s actually 100% cashmere and oh-so-soft.


The Five Things I’m Into This Month

Happy October! I am having a hard time believing that my fall break has already arrived. Our first quarter is behind us and we are 1/4 of the way to middle school.

As we transition into fall there are several things I’m currently digging. I’ll share here and, as always, feel free to let me know what you’re into this month!

1. Thrifted clothes
Yes, you read correctly. I am obsessed with thrifting. But this isn’t the old-school thrifting of wandering through Goodwill or Salvation Army. The newest trend is online thrifting.

I currently thrift via Instagram. I follow several IGers’ “closets,” meaning that these gals have separate accounts dedicated to selling their used clothes. Some are even “professional personal shoppers” who live in big cities and thrift clothes to resell online. Most are name brand, including tons of J Crew, Anthropologie, Banana Republic, and so on. Many of the items are considered “EUC” (excellent used condition) or “NWT” (new with tags). My husband is getting pretty sour about the amount of packages I’ve been getting on a weekly basis, but a good deal is a good deal.

Thrifted dress

Thrifted sweater top and skinny red pants

Thrifted top

Thrifted sweater

Thrifted skirt

2. Jamberry nails
In case you’ve ever paid close attention to my pics, you would have noticed that my finger nails were never painted. The reason is because I can’t stand the look of chipped polish. This means that, when I do paint my nails, it’s a one day adventure that is shortly removed or picked off. No fun and a waste of time.

Intro: Jamberry nails.

These amazing nail decal stickers are the latest in nail art. $15 gets you a package of stickers that can give you four mani/pedis. The designs are amazing and last up to two weeks or longer!

Applying the “jams” is super easy, too. I recommend watching some YouTube videos to watch the pros showing the application process. Oh, and don’t worry about buying an expensive mini heater. A blow dryer works just fine!



3. Postcrossing
My class’s theme this year is all about traveling the world. From mini airplanes to license plate name tags, I’ve decked out my room. My absolute favorite decoration this year is the interactive postcard wall map. I found the map at a local teacher store. I then came across the website Postcrossing, which is a postcard exchange site.

When you sign up for PXing, you’ll be sent up to five international addresses. Once the post cards arrive at those locations, your address will be pulled by a random PXer and you’ll receive your own card(s) from around the world. So far we’ve gotten cards from South Africa, China, Poland, and a few other Eastern European countries. Not only do my students love getting the cards, but so do I!


4. Dr. Jart BB creme
I recently received a sample of the Dr. Jart water-fused BB creme from Sephora. I then received a pore minimizing sample through my Birchbox. Based on these two product samples, I can safely say I was really impressed with the brand.

The Dr. Jart pore minimizer smells amazingly and left my skin feeling airbrushed without that nasty tightness. The water-fused BB creme felt like I was merely applying a cotton ball soaked in water. I was left with a slight tinted coverage and could’ve easily worn it alone with a little mascara and lip gloss. The next time you’re in Sephora, ask for a Dr. Jart sample so you can feel what I’m feeling!

5. My new ‘do
You probably could tell from the above pictures that I chopped off my hair. Nothing too drastic, but I’d definitely classify the new look as a bob. I added in some bangs for versatility and, all this week, happened to pin them back. But it’s nice to have other options.

Bobs and “lobs” (long bobs) are really stylish and practical. My hair is so much easier to style and can be worn dirty without it being obvious. I just add in a few waves with my iron, spritz some hairspray, and add a few pins. Done in no time! What hair are you wearing this fall?





Fashion Catch-Up

I haven’t posted in a few weeks and I’m very sorry. As the school year really gets moving, I find that I have less time to donate to my hobbies. My free time is taken up by family and friends. Plus, as the work load piles up, it’s difficult to set aside time to think and write about teaching. As it stands, everything is politics and giving educators more crap to do that is not actually teaching. Very hard to stay positive about a profession where the word of the day has suddenly become “requirement.”

So, I imagine this blog will lean more toward fashion and less about teaching for a bit.

I’ve stock-piled some of my favorite outfits from the past few weeks in hopes of sharing. All of my recent outfits have been bought on super sale or found through thrifting!

Top: Nordstrom Rack
Necklace: Michael’s craft store
Bottom: black ponte skinny pants




Top: pink tee from The Loft outlet
Cardi: simple cotton open cardi from The Limited
Purse: Target




Top: Gap outlet chambray button up
Pants: thrifted but from Rue 21
Bracelets: some made by me, some simple beaded inexpensive bracelets




This outfit was worn for a professional development (no students) day.
Top and shorts: JCrew Factory
Necklace: Ameera Noor jewelry





Top: Target (Merona)
Vest: NY and Co
Bracelets: teal one from JCrew Factory; spike one made by me




Top: JCrew Factory navy sweater
Pants: LC by Lauren Conrad for Kohls




Cardi: button up from Francesca’s
Strapless dress: Old Navy




Flats: A Teacher’s Best Friend

Day 2 of the #classyinclasschallenge is all about the flats, something we teachers are masters of. Seriously, look at the shoes of your fellow teachers (or your child’s teacher or a teacher girlfriend). We all wear flats. All. The. Time. Being up and down all day is not conducive to cute heels and with flats being “in” right now, why torture your tootsies?

My all time favorite pair of flats are courtesy of Nine West for DSW. No joke… I am on my third pair. I buy a new one every fall because I wear the sh!t out of these puppies! They go with everything and are simple yet professional.


But, with spring arriving, it’s time to step out of the simple black flats and into some more vibrant and fun options.













In trendy colors:




Lace/cut out:






What are your favorite flats? Where do you shop for flats?

Spring Forward in Stripes: A Teacher’s Outfit

The whole idea of DST is a relatively new concept for Hoosiers. We only began springing forward and falling back about eight years ago. Needless to say, springing is much harder on the body than falling!

I was able to spend this past weekend working a lot on The Indianapolis Street Style Edition. I interviewed a local boutique owner (article live April 1st) and got some great street style pics at Keystone Mall (photos live today and Wednesday).

I also bought full-sized products from my most recent beauty review.

Now onto the good stuff… Today’s inspiration is stripes. They’re everywhere this season and aren’t going anywhere. For me, striped always evoke a nautical theme. So pairing your stripes with some Sperry’s (or Naturalizer knock offs) or Converse is a great bet. But you can also dress up the striped look. Finding a top with some lace detailing (also very popular) or pairing the top with a structured blazer will make this look work for work!

Top: west kei for Nordstrom Rack, $25
Pants: NY and Co cropped black work pants
Accessories: Purple Peridot statement, $20
Shoes: Nine West flats for DSW, $50