fresh papers && fresh perspectives

As mentioned, education is, has been and always will be a big part of my life. As the child of educators and as a child who loved school, I have always associated August with fresh excitement.

Buying school supplies will forever be an enjoyment for me, since there is nothing like starting something exciting in a new notebook with a crisp pen.

Shopping for clothes is, of course, a favorite pastime, but finding the perfect first-day-of-school look is amazing.

And the first day of school…*ahhh*…the smell of erasers, old books and just-polished hardwood floors…the sound of squeals as people reunite and bells moving people to new classes full of possibilities…and the overall optimism about a new year of new education…I love it all!

Since I’m married to a teacher now, I’ll get to enjoy the good parts of this still (yay shopping), but for the most part, my days in a school building are done.

I thought they already were, since I graduated from high school in 2009, and I finished up college a semester early, in December 2012.

In the summer of 2015, though, in a long series of events that I’ve previously blogged about (and don’t want to type out again), I went back to school – on the other side! – and became a teacher in my hometown. For two years, I taught English, journalism, theater arts, basketball, UIL and life lessons in the same classrooms I learned in, at my old high school. I taught with teachers who taught me, as well as with my parents. #weird #butgood And while I was teaching, I stressed about finding the right curriculum to get through to different learners…I freaked out when confrontations (you know, like fist fights) happened in my room…I cried when our small community dealt with loss…and I learned…a lot…such as…

  • more advanced English terms, since I had forgotten some and picked up new tricks on remembering others
  •  I do better in bigger towns, where I have more options for eating, shopping, friends and entertainment
  • “Predestination” is now one of my top favorite movies
  • teaching = counseling and nurturing (Some kids wouldn’t listen to me talk about hyperboles and protagonists, but as soon as someone asked me a personal questions, as soon as a disagreement happened between students, as soon as really anything out of the ordinary happened, the kids turned to me. They looked at my reaction, they looked at me for advice, and they looked to see what the adult (who was only eight years older than some of them) in the room had to say. They opened up about difficult home situations, breakups, battles with depression, worries about their futures and so on, seeking guidance from someone who had at least a couple of years of real-world experience. I didn’t always have the right answers, I never figured out what girls needed hugs and which ones needed to just be mad, and I definitely didn’t realize how much of my days would be spent doing all of that…)

I could go on and on about what I learned, but I guess I just needed to blog it out! I guess that school is about to start, and I’m not buying new pens and papers. I guess I’m searching for what this new perspective on education will be. Obviously, I still learn and grow every day, and I’ll still be around friends and family members who come home with stories of grading and PTA meetings. I will be doing other things, though! And while I am beyond thrilled to be a full-time, work-from-home writer (#dreamscometrue), I’m finding myself a little…nostalgic…a little…sad? I will miss aspects of it. I will miss those lightbulb moments, when my hard work paid off and students grasped new concepts. I will miss reading super creative stories from super talented individuals. I will miss stuffing people in basketball practice. I will miss talking about fashion and The Real Housewives with my mom during break. I will miss Taco Thursday with my dad. I will miss Woodson, the best little town out there, since I had to tell it goodbye once again.

My parting words…

  • Good luck to current teachers! You have THE hardest job in the world (which I also previously blogged about), but know that you are SO valued and respected (even when it doesn’t feel like it).
  • Good luck to students heading back to school! I know you’ll get tired and bored and stressed, but know that what you do now really will affect your future (so be the best you can be).
  • Thank you to all educators! You taught me, you teach them, you teach yourselves, and I’m excited for my future children to learn from hardworking and caring individuals like I had.
  • And thank you Woodson for always being a calming constant in my life, with funny and skilled kiddos, smart and determined faculty/staff members and locals who bring smiles to my face with their memories and goodness.

P.S…Leaving this here…Nothing big…Just a fellow small town on ESPN!

P.P.S…People who didn’t grow up in a town of 300…People who didn’t graduate with six other people…People who don’t visit home – a town they moved to when they were one/the town their parents will retire in…They are missing out. Yes, I love the hustle and bustle of the city now, but I love the stars in the country sky, the lack of traffic on our dirt roads, and the shine of stadium lights on Friday nights. People may see this and think, “Wow, ESPN. Really? No one cares about small towns. I thought teams that had to use girls were just made up. These people are just rednecks.” I can make the occasional redneck joke – but only me and my fellow small towners! When other people think they know all about rural America, with a sad mental image of the “typical farmer” and such…Wow. Okay. Off on a tangent! Just wanted to spread a little more goodness out there about the charm, care and coolness of small towns (but ours is the best:).

A SoCal Summer

Here’s a fun little story: My first job out of college was for this super awesome dude named Joe Mahan.

And last year, Mr. Joseph Edward Mahan obtained his wedding officiant license and married Tommy and I.

And this year, he finally tied the knot himself!

He and Amy are beautiful and perfect, so their wedding, naturally, was as well. She saw Wayfarers Chapel online and selected it as her venue before she even visited it. She stopped into Kleinfeld’s while at a work conference in New York and just happened to find the dream gown minutes before closing time. Close friends and family members traveled to Rancho Palos Verdes to celebrate these two at a beach wedding, complete with a brunch reception and monogrammed copper mugs as party favors.

Since plane tickets are ridiculously expensive, Tommy and I decided to roadtrip to the event! We usually do have our own little vacation at the end of the summer, but we weren’t sure if we’d be able to fit one in this year (since we already had two family vacations this summer and moved)…but this was all meant to be!

I have made the trek to Cali twice before, yet there were still several landmarks/sights that I was dying to see, spots that I have had pinned and bookmarked, places that I now have seen!

Below, I’ve listed them all (some even have links/pics!), and YOU can make the same journey using my fun Mapquest link. Overall, the trip took 44 hours and 36 minutes/2,980 miles (not including the time we spent exploring each of the awesome things listed below!). We were gone six days and came back excited, tired and with money leftover; we lived off of Sonic + protein bars, we shopped around for gas as best as we could (There are apps that can find you the absolute cheapest – but that can be hard in the middle of the desert!), and we found affordable/adorable places to stay (which is why I’m sharing my Air B’n’B link with you!).

ENJOY…….

Austin to Tucson, AZ-12 hours (7/19-6am to 6pm)-stay at Wyndham

always so nice

Tucson to Palm Springs, CA-5 hours (7/20-7am to 12pm)-stay at Wigwam Motel

Wigwam Motel on Historic Route 66 in San Bernardino, CA

Wigwam Motel on Historic Route 66 in San Bernardino, CA

  • Mud pools of Salton Sea (didn’t see)
  • Ruins of Bombay Beach (saw – sooo creepy/sad/interesting!)

  • Joshua Tree National Park (didn’t really see)
  • #thatpinkdoor
That Famous Pink Door On A Lovely Mid-Century Modern Home In Palm Springs

That Famous Pink Door On A Lovely Mid-Century Modern Home In Palm Springs

  • Coachella (drove by and waved;)
  • Salvation Mountain (amazzzzzinnnnggg!!!)
Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain

  • Mirror House (closed 😦 read about it here…and someone, please visit this for me!)

San Bernardino to LA-1 hour (morning of 7/21)

  • Rancho Cucamonga Service Station on Route 66 (didn’t stop)
  • Cabazon Dinosaurs (so cute:)
Cabazon Dino

Cabazon Dino

  • First In-N-Out (and the university?!)
  • Watt’s Towers (decided to skip)
  • Museum of Ice Cream (sold out, wahhhh!)
  • Disney Concert Hall
Disney Concert Hall in LA

Disney Concert Hall in LA

  • Tomahawk steak at Lock & Key (decided to skip after seeing the price ha)
  • Oldest McDonald’s (which has world’s most-detailed mural on the side of it, depicting Route 66)

  • Rabbit Hole Bar (skipped)
  • The Last Bookstore (could have stayed here forever)
The Last Bookstore in LA

The Last Bookstore in LA

The Last Bookstore in LA

The Last Bookstore in LA

The Last Bookstore in LA

LA to RPV-1 hour (eve of 7/21)-stay at Air B’n’B

  • Wedding at Wayfarers Chapel + exploring the area
Hermosa Beach

adorable Hermosa Beach house

Wayfarers Chapel

Wayfarers Chapel

#mahanmadness

Joe + Amy

#mahanmadness

#mahanmadness

RPV to San Diego-3 hours (noon of 7/22)-stay at Air B’n’B

  • Torrey Pines (beach + hike – no time!)
  • Hotel Del Coronado/outdoor mall (didn’t see)
  • San Diego Zoo (didn’t see)
  • Padres (can kind of say we saw Petco Park amidst Comic Con)
  • Potato chip rock (didn’t see)
  • Wind caves (didn’t see)
  • Legoland (didn’t see)
San Diego to Marfa-13 hours (7/23)-stay at Air B’n’B

  • Saw Prada Marfa and the creepy tethered balloon at night (yikes)
  • Stayed in an old train depot

Marfa to Austin-6 hours (7/24)-home:)
*see pics of this in my next blog!!!*

atx<3

We’re backkkkkkkk!

We’re here!

We ventured off, despite some fear!

We badly missed the city!

We missed all of its pretties!

So we’re back – Let’s all cheer!

For some reason, our move back to Austin brought out the poet in me (see my farewell poem on Instagram), as I have been filled with SO much excitement! I loved the anticipation building up to moving day (even surrounded by numerous cardboard boxes), I fully soaked up the process of arranging our belongings in their new home (and successfully transitioned from a 3/2 house to a 1/1 apartment), and, now, I am gladly filling up every hour of the day with ATX adventures!

Previously, I blogged about the best spots in Austin and my bucket list pertaining to this weird city. And now, I present to you, part tres:

ACTIVITIES WE HAVE ENJOYED HERE SINCE BEING BACK:

  • Canoeing on Lady Bird Lake

fam

  • Mini golf at Peter Pan’s
  • Becoming AMC Stubs Premiere members (not completely ATX-related, but we are HUGE movies fans, and the AMC at the mall has been updated with recliners and alcohol, so, uh, yes, please:)
  • Breakfast at Snooze (since we fell in love in Denver)
  • Eating at Copper Restaurant & Dessert Lounge at The Domain with our besties
  • Movie (“The Mummy” :/) at Alamo Drafthouse
  • Shopping at Barton Creek Square
  • Picture in front of the new “atx” sign at Whole Foods

atx

PLACES WE STILL NEED TO VISIT:

  • The new Toy Joy
  • Top Golf
  • Eberly
  • Maze Rooms
  • David Foster Wallace exhibit at the Harry Ransom Center
  • MYLO Obstacle Fitness
  • Blue Cat Cafe
  • Justine’s Brassiere
  • Ai Weiwei “Forever Bicycles” sculpture
  • Hotel San Jose
  • Sugar Mama’s Bakery
  • Hippie Hollow
  • Franklin’s Barbecue
  • Dart Bowl
  • Odd Duck
  • Culinary Dropout
  • A Tiny Tails To You Hoppy Hour
  • Southern Hippie

AND SOME OF OUR FAVE SPOTS THAT WE’RE READY TO VISIT AGAIN:

  • Satellite Bistro & Bar (best. bread. pudding)
  • Uchi
  • Blenders and Bowls
  • Craftsman (prosecco on tap ftw)
  • Tiff’s Treats
  • (I’m sure there are more, but I just have foodz on the brainz;)

We are so blessed (for multiple reasons), as we are in this fun little limbo right now; my husband, Tommy, and I just finished teaching in May (He fell in love with it after we moved to a small city so I could teach, and I realized it wasn’t for me.). He got his dream teaching job here and doesn’t start for another few weeks, and I am transitioning back into full-time freelance work. While I have enough tasks to keep me busy for at least a 40-hour work week, I admittedly am fitting in tweets, blogs, office meetings and coffee dates AROUND my fun time (and gym time, since we have one-hour workouts four days a week, and life in general, as I need my sleep, Netflix, home and cuddle-with-Cat time). It’s a cool time, and there is nothing like an Austin summer…except for maybe a SoCal summer…but stay tuned for more on that later…;)

Another life update…

Several things have changed at Woodson – just in the time since I have graduated from high school (which wasn’t thattt long ago)…

  • Updated flooring
  • A big, heavy mat that the football guys use to practice rolls and tackling
  • Security cameras and fobs to unlock the outside doors
  • An intercom system
  • A second portable building for pre-K/K
  • New bell sounds (including funky dance music played when school dismisses)
  • Tutorial periods built into every morning and afternoon
  • New teachers, staff members and students (many in different rooms, too)

…but so many things are the same…

  • People still proudly wear black and gold.
  • The building still looks much like it always has on the outside, since being built in 1928.
  • We still call the our gyms the Old Gym and New Gym (though this is the New Gym’s 20th anniversary!).
  • There are dogs that everyone knows and loves, and we give them treats but also have to chase them off the football field during games at times.
  • You can turn to anyone for anything, and they will help you (Thanks to Mrs. Briles for teaching advice, Mrs. Matthiews for candy and Mrs. Lester for markers!).
  • We’re still a little family – just with a few different members – that works super hard, whether we are serving chili at Homecoming, driving bus routes after school, taking money at sporting events, decorating for school functions, counselling kids about love and life, spending our weekends and evenings at extracurricular functions, grading homework, making copies and lesson plans or researching new ways to present the correct information to students.

I ❤ Woodson ISD

I have been around education my entire life. My dad started out as a math teacher and head football and basketball coach then worked his way up to being principal and, eventually, superintendent. My mom has taught sixth grade, as well as family and consumer sciences, health and physical education classes. Almost all of this has been done at Woodson ISD, my second home. I started kindergarten there in 1997, as the “new” gym was being built on campus (right behind my house, since my family still lives in the school-owned, two-story house they moved into in 1991). I remember crying in Mrs. Bellah’s fourth grade classroom when my favorite childhood cat died. When 9/11 happened, my fifth grade teacher, Mr. Bundy, tried to explain to us what was going on. I graduated from WHS in 2009, after years of basketball, academic events, breakups and makeups and being taught everything from literature and exponents to lessons on how to be the best I can be and to bloom where I was planted.

Hook ‘Em

The University of Texas at Austin was my next stop for learning; as an 18 year old, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, so I started out in business, to be generic, realized that was not for me, began writing for The Daily Texan (one of the oldest and winningest college newspapers) and transferred into the school of communication, to study magazine journalism.

Adulthood

After graduating a semester early, I wasn’t in a school setting – but I was still learning! From 2012 to 2015, I had some amazing moments (started my own freelance marketing/writing business, attended New York Fashion Week, interviewed celebrities like Ryan Gosling and made many fun memories with friends and family) and some growing moments (like a quarter-life crisis, where I didn’t get a dream job – even with a degree from UT – so had to work six jobs and live paycheck to paycheck).

Back To Woodson

I heard that journalism was a dying art, but I was determined to make a living writing…but in the meantime, as a backup, I decided to get a teaching certificate. It seemed neat to pass my passion for writing and reading on to others, especially since I wasn’t finding that full-time magazine job I wanted. When I completed my training, there happened to be an English opening at a high school near me in Austin, so I applied and made it to the second round. When I didn’t get that, though, I heard that Woodson had an opening. I joked that I should apply…and then I did. I interviewed with the principal and teachers and was presented in front of the board and got the job! My at-the-time boyfriend, Tommy, and I picked up, left our friends and beloved ATX and moved to a small town so I could teach in an even smaller town.

My Thoughts On Teaching

Pros:

  • You do get to pass your passions on to others.
  • Your work schedule is nice, with long holiday and summer breaks (You still have to plan lessons and attend trainings – but it’s better than a 9-5 every.single.day.ever.).
  • I got to help with basketball.
  • I was surrounded by other creative and caring individuals.

Cons:

  • Not everyone loves writing and reading, but some people seem to love complaining about not loving it, which makes trying to get them to learn nearly impossible.
  • Even if you’re super organized like me, the preparation never ends, since there are state standards to adhere to and essays to grade and full lessons to plan…and some kids rush through assignments and some days bring substitute teachers, so you need back-up lessons…and some schools, such as the small WHS, need one teacher covering many areas, meaning planning for four different English levels + journalism + high school theater + junior high theater.

As said, I’ve always been around education, so I heard my parents’ stories of students and classes and TAAS/TAKS/STAAR and extracurriculars and inservice. I never thought I’d end up teaching, but I was SO excited to give back to Woodson, to share my knowledge and to use my experience/creativity/organization in the classroom and beyond.

However, here are some things people don’t realize…

  • People can be lazy and rude. Yes, different personalities and interests and people are what make our diverse world so neat. In a school setting, though, a certain level of effort and respect is expected. I know perfection is impossible – from anyone, in anything – but I was surprised at how many students seemed to not care about failing grades or bad attitudes. I know school can be challenging, and balancing activities + homework + life can be a lot; I was in this exact classroom not that long ago, though, and while several people failed tests and got d-hall (myself included, at times!), there was that level of effort/respect. We knew that we came to school to learn and work and study, so there was no point in complaining – just get it done! We joined the extracurricular activities we were interested in, and we showed up to practices and games, ready to work there, too, resulting in state championship football games and competitions/trips at Galveston and gold medals, blue ribbons and pride. This year’s volleyball team made it to the playoffs, and that’s the first time that any of these high school students have done that in anything; there are many factors that could play into this (tougher competition, changes in coaching staff, fewer players, etc.), but I have to wonder about the effort + success correlation.
  • Teaching is a lot of work. I don’t think many people realize the amount of behind-the-scenes details that go into this job – even someone like me, who saw Mom grade papers after the bell rang and had to wait on Dad to get home from practice/games/board meetings. The lovely STAAR test alone leads to certain things having to be taught to certain grades at certain times, all to try and pass this one test that keeps changing and getting harder. On top of that, there are normal concepts that each subject brings – such as making sure students understand fractions, commas, cells and the history of our country – and you have to find the textbook and worksheets and accompanying texts/papers and quizzes that go along with all of that. Finally, we are also responsible for instilling these young people with deeper lessons; there isn’t a state-issued list somewhere that says this, but a. students are sometimes with teachers more than their parents and b. at Woodson ISD specifically, we’re all taught character traits – like determination, honesty, punctuality and respect – and to “be the best we can be” (our school motto:).
  • Last but not least, Woodson’s population is only 296. There are less than 50 students in high school, and these students share a building with every grade, down to pre-K. Many of these kids are also bussed in from Graham and Breckenridge, as parents like having their children in more one-on-one settings and able to participate in more than one activity. As mentioned, with a smaller school and staff, your English teacher is also your UIL and OAP director and assistant basketball coach, and your principal and superintendent teach classes and coach teams, on top of all of their other responsibilities. This is how it’s always been, and for many years, Woodson had the same staff members, who were familiar with their jobs/roles and became family. Over the years, retirement and graduating children have brought in new, younger teachers – teachers who like starting out in smaller settings. Changes are going to happen in any school, and people move for numerous reasons. It can be said that Woodson is at a disadvantage, since we’re small and in the middle of nowhere and don’t have baseball. But we do have…
    • Exciting six-man football (State runners-up in 2008. State semi-finalists in 1980 & 2001. Quarterfinal champions & state runners-up in 1978 & 2007. Regional champions in 2006 & 2009. Bi- district champions in 1993, 1994, 1995 & 2000. District champions in 1957, 1960, 1967, 1973 & 1996. The boys’ teams saw success under Coach Gordon Thomas from 1992-2002, and under Coach Reece Walker from 2002-2008.)
    • A staff that hustles and cares (Do you know these people? You probably do, ha. They’re amazing.)
    • History (such as the town being named after J.O. Wood and his son, an impactful tornado, a railroad and a Japanese balloon bomb)
    • Awesome community members (and many are graduates of Woodson AND started booming businesses here – like Jones Trailer, BJB Transport and the Woodson Inn – where other current and ex-students work)
    • A high reputation (Woodson ISD was started by passionate people who hired other upstanding faculty members…members who helped make all the positive things mentioned in this very long piece possible…winning games and building a new gym and earning awards/praises from the state/surrounding schools and sending kiddos off to state competitions/top universities/high-paying jobs…and then possibly having them come back to spread some of that goodness around (i.e. Ashlee Sullivan, Kim Miller, Nanci Baxley, Melissa Vickers and Richard Sullivan).

Life Now

I don’t owe an explanation of why I came here, how I feel about it or what I will be doing now; but, as a writer, I wanted/needed to get all of this out. My now-husband, Tommy, is working to get job back in Austin – since we miss it terribly! – and my last day as a teacher at WHS was May 23. He actually fell in love with teaching when we were here, passed his content test with flying colors, spent the last year teaching at Olney and would love to be passing on his smarts to an ATX school. Since I started my own biz in 2012, I’ve kept that going on the side, and now it’s grown so much that I can write and tweet and blog and pitch publications all day, every day.

I loved being back at Woodson, and I look forward to continuing to give back to this amazing community, no matter where I end up or what I am doing. Thank YOU for helping to make Woodson so amazing, thank YOU for making the past two years so eventful, and thank YOU for taking even a tiny bit of inspiration from this and realizing that life is short, so we must bloom where we are planted and be the best we can be!

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make dresses appropriate + more fashion tips

I have had several bits of fashion insight to share, so I’m bundling them and sharing now, starting with…

BuzzFeed – my beloved BuzzFeed – recently did a long piece, full of detailed charts and diagrams, regarding fashion rules and tips, such as…

-Not all sizes are created equal: I remember watching What Not To Wear at a young age and hearing that all clothes should be tailored; it would be weird if we all could buy one thing and that thing fit us all correctly!

-Mixing and matching: Sure, there are some color combos that will forever look good together, for everyone. I’ve learned with my husband, though, that noticing these combos doesn’t come naturally. Plus, fashion is about expressing yourself, so feel free to boldly mix plaid and polka dots, emerald green and hot pink and denim on denim!

-Clothing silhouettes: I had a student – in theater class – say that no one wears poodle skirt-type skirts any more, and I mentioned A-line skirts…and she looked lost and confused. Know your types, AND know which ones look best on YOU!

-Formality: Wedding season is here, and I already have my semiformal, formal and beach attire ready – but always go a little dressier if you’re not sure. You wouldn’t want to show up in jeans and be the only one in denim…but in a dress, you can elevate it with heels and heavier makeup or dress it down with sneakers and a ponytail.

Fun Tip…Vintage = Made at least 20 years ago!

Now, for some tips on how to balance your wardrobe between appropriate and … fun (you know, how to wear bandeaus and crop tops and cutouts to work and school!)…

 

Image result for how to wear bandeaus to work

Depending on your setting, this is a way to wear a bandea but still be somewhat covered; lucky for me, this could work for at a funky startup office or while covering a fashion event!

Image result for how to professionally wear a crop top

The trick to wearing a crop top without baring too much skin is pairing it with a high-waisted skirt or pair of pants.

 

Image result for how to layer shirts under cut out shirts to school

Have a dress that’s not appropriate for school, the office or the weather? Layer, as seen here and below!

Image result for how to layer shirts under cut out shirts to school

There are numerous ways to add pieces under and/or over your clothing to make it more appropriate for where you are going or what the weather is like…Just experiment and make it work!

Image result for leggings and shirts under dresses for schoolImage result for leggings and shirts under dresses for school

Image result for leggings and shirts under dresses for schoolLove the white t-shirt under a silk cami look, especially with cool, casual denim | discovered by Katerina Iatridou

And here’s a tip for you, men, from The Art of Manliness:

I also love this guide on how to update your look (great for transitioning out of college into the professional/adult world!)…

The Five Brands I’m Gushing Over Currently

NUMBER ONE – KATE SPADE

Kate Spade got started by launching a clothing line in 1993, and she now runs a lifestyle empire, full of pink and polka dots. I have her dining accessories on my table and stationary on my desk…but I want more!

I recently stopped in at Barnes & Noble and had to pry myself away from loading classics and paperbacks and coloring books into my arms…but my eyes were most drawn to Kate Spade’s collection here: shimmering desk tools, pretty papers and pens and fun cups and mugs.

NUMBER TWO – ban.do

I actually think I fell in love with this brand at Barnes & Noble, too, but now, I live for their sparkly and witty Instagram posts…and their expressive earrings…and funky beauty products…and gaudy home decor…and playful bags. If you know me, you should know that these pink items totally speak to me.

NUMBER THREE – OH JOY!

Joy Cho came onto the scene in 2005, with a graphic design studio. These days, you can find her stuff at Target, whether you’re looking for quirky furniture, baby clothing or band aids. She has a whole rose gold section (much like the brands above) that I’m dying to acquire.

NUMBER FOUR – FURBISH STUDIO

I stumbled upon Furbish, a boutique known for bold and eclectic gifts and finds, when I was searching for a large, colorful purse. The products all have an exotic feeling – but in a modern and cool way that I adore. Plus – again…more pink!

NUMBER FIVE – SUGARFIX by BAUBLEBAR

Who doesn’t love BaubleBar? And who isn’t obsessed with Target? And who is always looking for exciting jewelry that’s also affordable? I know I am, and now, all my dreams have come true!

just 10 things

  1. WOODSON, TEXAS: I’m from this town of 296, where my dad is the superintendent of the one school, which my brother and I started going to in kindergarten; we both graduated from WHS – and I only had seven people in my class. My mom was my sixth grade teacher and still teaches there – and I teach there now, too. No, we didn’t ride horses to school (I don’t even own a pair of boots.), but yes, I love this safe and comfortable home.
  2. WRITING: I remember asking my parents to buy me a tablet to write stories in when I was so young that some of my peers couldn’t even write complete sentences yet. English was always my favorite class in school, and I created my school’s newspaper and started contributing to my county’s weekly paper. I went on to major in journalism and write for publications like Austin Home, New York Resident and Us Weekly and cover events such as SXSW and New York Fashion Week. See where I’m currently writing via my online portfolio!
  3. AUSTIN, TEXAS: I attended the University of Texas at Austin and can still hardly believe I graduated from such an esteemed school. Though I’m away from ATX right now, I’ll be back, because I love it all: Alamo Drafthouse, Cathedral of Junk, Spiderhouse, Greenbelt, The Domain, Kerby Lane, Toy Joy, SoCo, the Veloway – See a complete list of my faves here😉
  4. MOVIES: I’ve always said my favorites are “A Walk to Remember the Titans”, combining two that I love. My family and I loveee going to the theater (mainly for popcorn and previews, amiright?), and if a movie can freak me out (in a scary or mind-blowing way (like “Predestination”…WaTcH!), I love it even more.
  5. FASHION: I always joked that when I die, I want to be cremated and spread around a mall, because I can’t get enough of new trends, window displays, glossy magazines, fashion blogs, “Project Runway”, fashion boards on Pinterest and buying new accessories/outfits!
  6. TRAVEL: I am used to making 28-hour drives to different states and have visited over half of them – and maybe a third of the baseball parks in the U.S. The only places I’ve visited internationally are Cologne, Germany, and Playa del Carmen, Mexico (loved both…can’t wait to see morrre).
  7. CATS: I’ve probably owned about 75 cats, but right now, my husband and I are happily raising Catalina Crookshanks. I’ve also adopted a polar bear, and penguins = mine and Tommy’s spirit animals. Fourth fave animal = unicorn;)
  8. GLITTER: Everything is better with glitter (just look at this blog title and/or ask Ke$ha;)
  9. LOVE: I really really really do try to show love to all – why wouldn’t you? We’re all stuck on this rock together, so be nice/spread peace! Thankfully, it’s super easy to love my loved, because gawww, they’re amazing…like tooooo good to me.
  10. LIFE: Speaking of being on this rock together, remember that it’s all about balance and perspective and blooming where you’re planted and being the best you can be and breathing and finding your passion/sharing it with others and being you and laughing until you cry!
    • Balance: You will have amazing moments of triumph and happiness, as well as horrible moments of stress and sadness. Through it all, you can eat chocolate when you’re sad and happy and dream about the future while still making the most of the present. Everything in moderation, with your head on straight.
    • Perspective: When those sad moments occur, try try try to find the silver lining. Know that everyone deals with loss. And when you’re overjoyed, know that there’s a time for everything, and even good things must come to an end. ALSO, I say these mantras over and over, but I just decided to change this one to “bird’s-eye view”, so that they all start with “B”!
    • Bloom Where You’re Planted: How many times have I blogged about this? My high school English teacher drilled this into my brain, and now, I have it hung in my house and sneak it into my English lessons. You are where you are. Will you always be there? Probably not – since we’re always in a state of motion, with moves and career changes and marriage and etc. So wherever you are and wherever you end up, do your best in that very place.
      • ALSO, I’ve written a good deal about this state of motion: I used to say that life was all about waiting – We wait in lines and drive-thrus. We wait for our alarms to go off, our coffee to brew…for work to start and then be over…then wait until it’s time for dinner, bed and it all to start again.
      • Recently, however, I’ve been thinking that it’s all about change, too; my bff and I feel like we’re always…well…waiting for the next big thing! As we wait and move forward, we encounter these big life events, such as graduating college, finding a full-time gig, getting married, buying a house and having kids. I guess it isss exciting that there’s always something to look forward to…It just seems like the in-between (the “upside-down” I – and other “Stranger Things” fans – may call it) time is just…there – and this time of limbo just flies by!
      • So enjoy those little moments that do make you laugh until you cry, which can be filled with things as simple as going for a walk, stretching as you get out of bed, cuddling with your cat and this.
    • Be The  Best You Can Be: The Woodson ISD motto is a good one, and it’s simple (So why do we complicate things?): Be the best human you can be. Do your very best at every single thing you do. Period. Yay.

P.S. – Happy six-year dating anniversary to my husband, Thomas Wayne Baze. ❤

The YouTube Videos You Haveee To Watch

DYK…

YouTube was started by PayPal employees

The website was activated on Feb. 14, 2005

It was purchased by Google in 2006, the same year it won a “Person of the Year” award from TimeYouTube

1,300,000,000 people use the site

300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute

Almost 5 billion videos are watched there daily

…according to this site…which is why I wanted to highlight and honor my favorite videos (and channels!) from perhaps the most popular website out there.

David Foster Wallace gave an amazing commencement speech at Kenyon College in 2005, and this inspirational video explains it all in a way that will make you realize that life is short, that being happy is key, that pain happens, that “This Is Water“.

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This adorable little girl reacting to the “Jaws” theme song is all you need.

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One of the best scenes from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” is when Dennis and Mac try to help Charlie make a dating profile; this animated version of it is possibly better than the original.

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The Sticky Buddy is a well-known made-for-TV product…and now, this dub is even more popular than the item itself.

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I think I was late to the YouTube game, because Salad Fingers is one of the first I remember even seeing (the first ever may have been “Old Greg” – ha).

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If you love stereotypes and workplace scenes set in the 90s, you’ll love Bigoted Bill!

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And lucky number seven is my favorite YouTube video of all time. It’s brilliant. It’s beautiful. It’ll blow your mind.

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Best Channels To Follow:

ShoeOnHead: An adorable feminist who tells it like it is

Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared: June 19 is the best day, because that’s when this crazy-creative channel delivers another weird video.

h3h3Productions: We ❤ Ethan & Hila

The Eric Andre Show: wutttttt

Hot Ones: Sure, I like wings and hot sauce, but I love watching Sean interview celebs who are sweating and crying in pain.

P.S. – Anything cat-related is obviously highly recommended here, too;)

P.P.S. – The top weirdest videos – the ones you just can’t look away from – are…

this

and

this.

(You’re welcome/I’m sorry!)

70+ English Resources!

I have only been teaching for a year and a half, but over that time, I researched numerous sites, attended several workshops and built up a huge list of resources; I teach English I-IV, journalism and theater arts…and if you do, too, here’s some assistance!

Below, you will find over 70 links to websites full of assignments, projects, worksheets and more!

I also sell lesson plans on Teachers Pay Teachers and have a Pinterest board dedicated to all this creative/hard work we put in! Follow me! Tell me what awesome links I left out! We’re all in this together…(cue High School Musical dance;)!

ENGLISH

General Lesson Plans (with some linked directly to my fave page on the site!)

http://www.varsitytutors.com/englishteacher

Grammar

Writing
Reading
Vocab
Worksheets/Quizzes
STAAR (resources, practice, details, info)
ACT
JOURNALISM
THEATER ARTS

The Best Shows on Netflix

Sense 8

From the creators of  The Matrix comes this tense series in which eight people can telepathically experience each other’s lives.

I was honestly blown away by this series. It’s like nothing else. It goes all out, in every way, delivering beautiful scenes done by beautiful characters. It’s weird and wonderful, and I cannot wait for the next season (which should release soon!)

Pretty Little Liars

A group of friends (the gorgeous Lucy Hale, Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson & Shay Mitchell) wake up to find one of their friends missing and, later, dead. After her murder and disappearance, the group is contacted by a mysterious figure who claims to be their deceased friend.

This show is my guilty pleasure. It may have started out being aimed at preteens, but the murders, kidnappings, love stories, cliffhangers and fact that I’m the same age as these actresses mean that I will continue watching until the end (which is coming this spring!).

Lost

After their plane crashes on a deserted island, a diverse group of people must adapt to their new home and contend with the island’s enigmatic forces.

If you know me, you know I’m obsessed with this show. The description doesn’t do it justice. My family and I started watching it as soon as it aired on ABC (on Wednesday night’s, after church, with burgers from the Woodson Inn), and then my husband and I followed it through college, even watching the series finale at the Alamo Drafthouse. I can’t say enough about this show, so I won’t say any more!

Gossip Girl

The series is narrated by the omniscient blogger “Gossip Girl” and is voiced by Kristen Bell. The plot revolves around the lives of privileged teens living on the Upper East Side of New York, and they can hide no secret from the ruthless blogger who’s always watching. Rounding out the main cast in the series are Blake Lively (as Serena van der Woodsen), Leighton Meester (as Blair Waldorf), Penn Badgley (as Dan Humphrey), Chace Crawford (as Nate Archibald), Ed Westwick (as Chuck Bass), Kelly Rutherford (as Lily van der Woodsen) and Matthew Settle (as Rufus Humphrey).

I’m not traditional, in any sense, so I didn’t watch Gossip Girl when it was cool to watch it; I watched it, like, last year – which was perfect, since my family took a Christmas trip to NYC, so I got to walk where Chuck and Blair got married, only a couple of days after watching it.

Stranger Things

A lost boy. A government lab steeped in terrible secrets. A mother who won’t rest until her son is found. The great Winona Ryder. The lovable Millie Bobby Brown. And Natalia Dyer and Finn Wolfhard as the Wheeler children.

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via: netflix.com

This was an instant hit, and most people (Me!) finished the eight episodes in one day, being drawn in by the unique story and 80’s vibe.

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

Narcissistic friends Charlie, Mac, Dennis and Dennis’s sister, Dee, run Paddy’s Pub, a downtown Philadelphia Irish bar, where everyone’s judgmental (and juvenile) behavior usually brings situations from uncomfortable to hysterically horrible.

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via: youtube.com

What a great description for a great show. My now-husband and his old roommate got me hooked on this show, and we.are.them. My husband, Tommy, is Mac, obsessed with working out. I’m Dee, born to be a star yet ridiculed, at times, for being so tall and bird-like. Bonus points for the fact that these two are married in real life! My brother (Dennis on the show and Tanner in real life) is a tall, self-proclaimed god-like creature, perfect in every way. And finally, there’s Charlie, the wild card (We’ll give this honor to our friend Robin;). If you like to laugh and are okay with ridiculous/crass situations, I highly recommend Always Sunny (Season 12 coming 1/4/17!).