Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer Projects ~ School

I love having the summer to knock out some projects that I don't have the time / energy / motivation to do during the school year.  I've actually had a small surge of energy to work on school-related stuff these past couple weeks, so I'm taking advantage of that motivation and have been trying to get a few projects done.

Here are some of the school projects on my to do list:

  • Make vocab Power Points.  I discussed my vocab routines in this post, but I've wanted to put everything into an electronic form for a while now so that I don't have to write it all out each day.  I figure Power Point will be the easiest, especially considering I tend to be gone a lot and that would be fairly reasonable for a sub to handle.
  • Get organized!  I like to think I'm a fairly organized person, but I do have plenty of room for improvement.  I'm trying to get a handle on organization right now, so that I can start the school year off right!
  • Plan out and find resources for reading themes.  This past school year was the first year I'd really used themes to drive my reading instruction.  I really liked doing things this way and have so many ideas for what I'd like to do.  I'd like to have it all planned out a little bit more and have my activities and resources ready and organized ahead of time this year.
  • Familiarize myself a bit more with the new Common Core standards.  I currently feel better about math than reading / ELA when it comes to CC.  I feel like I'm really going to have to step up my instruction in that area and I want to have a little more sense of where to go with it all.
What do you want to accomplish this summer?  
Do you have any projects you want to complete for your classroom?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

10 Summer (Or Whenever) Makeup Essentials

10 Summer Makeup Essentials

I'm a total makeup girl (duh!), but when the summer hits I change up my routine a bit to keep things a little more neutral to keep up with the heat and humidity.  I took all of these items with me on vacation, but have also found myself reaching for them on a daily basis.

Clockwise From Top Left:

Urban Debay De-Slick (or All Nighter) Spray - I started using these UD sprays last summer and really like them as both a primer and a setting spray.  I've found both of these to work about the same way, but they really do make a difference in how my makeup lasts throughout the day.

Rimmel BB Cream - Rimmel's BB wins for my favorite!  The coverage is really good by itself, but also works really well combined with a regular foundation when I want something with slightly more coverage.  

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder - This is another great and affordable essential.  I've even picked up an extra to carry around with me for mid-day touch ups.

Benefit Fake Up Concealer - I picked this up during the last Sephora VIB sale and have mixed feelings about it.  Some days I really like this concealer and other days I'm not a huge fan...  Regardless, it's actually been a pretty good under eye concealer that's done well as the temperatures have warmed up.  (I don't really use this one on my face, just my under eye areas.)

Too Faced Shadow Insurance - I'm working on a sample of this, but really like the lasting power.  I've come to rely on primer to make my eye shadow last all day, especially when it gets hot outside.

Urban Decay Naked 2 - The more I use this, the more I fall in love it!  This has become my total go-to when I'm in a hurry and these were the only shadows that I took on my recent vacation.  It's just so stinkin' easy to make a neutral look with this palette! (Plus, the black works well as a liner!)

Maybelline Mega Plus Mascara - I took advantage of a sale and some Walgreens points and picked this up after wanting to try it for almost a year.  I really like this formula and like that it gives me a natural, yet pretty look to my lashes.  Plus, the staying power is great and I don't even have the waterproof version.

Elf Blush & Bronzer Duo - I've actually used all of the blush and am almost done with the bronzer, but this will definitely be something I pick up again.  For $3, this is an amazing product that has really grown on me.

NYX Lip Gloss - I'm a lip product junkie, but I do really enjoy these NYX glosses.   There's nothing better than to polish off your look than with a nice, neutral lip gloss.

What are your favorite makeup and beauty products for summer?  

Friday, June 28, 2013

Farewell, Google Reader!

Google Reader is officially shutting down on July 1st...  I've been a Google Reader user for about 2 1/2 years and it was a huge part of my experience getting into blogging.  

I switched over to Bloglovin' a few months a go when I heard that Reader was going away.  I wasn't so sure about Bloglovin' at first, but I've actually come to really like it.  My only real complaint about Bloglovin' so far is that there's no app for my new Kindle Fire HD.  They have a pretty easy to use app for Apple and so I've enjoyed that while on my iPod.  

Soooooo...  If you haven't switched your blogs over from Google Reader I recommend checking out Bloglovin' because they've made it super easy to import your subscriptions.  You can follow me by clicking on the link over on the right or by using this link right here!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

June Fitness Update

I debated on whether or not I wanted to post a fitness update this month (it's been a little while), but I decided that being honest is going to be the best way to keep me accountable.  

I started off my summer vacation (late May) doing really well with regular workouts.  The first 3 weeks or so of summer were very good for me.  I was either going to the Y, doing "30 Day Shred," walking outside, or some combination of those every day.  The weather was still pretty mild out, so I took advantage of that and did a lot of outdoor walking / running.

And then I went on vacation...

Now, while I was on vacation I did a fair amount of walking and hiking, so the vacation itself wasn't necessarily the problem.  The problem was that I got out of those good routines.  As soon as I got back (last week) I started into 2 straight weeks of professional development classes and working on weekends.  

Total admission:  I haven't worked out since the day before I left on my vacation.  That would have been June 10th.  

(I'm embarrassed just saying that.)  

While I have been busy the last few weeks, I've also been just plain lazy.  There's no good excuse...  I mean, if nothing else, I have workout DVDs I can do at home in 20 minutes or so.  I just haven't done it.

I love working out, but when I get on these lazy kicks it's hard for me not to slack off.  The hardest part for me is getting started or just getting to the gym.  I love it and feel great once I'm going, but it's getting there that's 90% of my battle.  

July is going to be a busy month for me with 2 straight weeks of all day classes...  It's a perfect time to start throwing out excuses, but I'm determined not to do that.  

So, my goal for July?  Complete at least 50 miles through walking outside, at the gym, or on the elliptical.  Easy right?!?  It actually should be considering a typical trip to the gym consists of at least 5 miles.  I'm going to keep track of my workout mileage on my iPod and hopefully this time next month will have some good news and success to share with you!  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Budgeting Bloggers ~ June

It's that time again...  Budgeting Bloggers is now up over at Franish!  I think this is one of my favorite posts each month and I love seeing what the other girls have purchased!

Gap 1969 Destructed Denim Jacket - $33
I've been contemplating getting a lighter wash denim jacket for a while, but hadn't found one that I liked as much as my current jacket.  I ended up finding this one at Gap just in time for my vacation!

Image via Gap
I realized that a good, basic black tee was something that I needed to upgrade in my wardrobe, so I snagged another one of these faves during the $10 tee sale.  I love that these are thin enough to be comfortable in the summer heat, but thick enough that I don't need to layer a tank underneath.

I'm going to be honest and say that I'm not sure this was my best purchase.  I bought these before I went on vacation, but ended up not even taking them with me.  I've worn them a couple times, but I probably could have made a better purchase with my gift card money.  I'm going to work on styling these, so that I don't feel buyer's remorse.

I've been on a hunt for a black maxi that wasn't a super thin or clingy material and that wasn't too long.  This one is actually pretty good and was super comfy for my traveling days while I was on vacation.

H&M Necklace - $18
{maybe a pic coming soon}
My vacation shopping was pretty much limited to a 10 minute stop into H&M during my super short day in Seattle.  I was traveling with a boy (who is NOT a shopper), but he was kind enough to put up with a super fast stop into H&M so that I could look at accessories.  (Out of kindness, I promised not to look at clothes.)  I bought this necklace for myself as well as another cute one for my mom.  

Charlotte Russe Bracelets - $6

After seeing a set of bracelets from The Buckle on a girl at the mall, I decided to create my own "look for less" with a few new cheapies and few randoms that were already in my collection.  $6 versus $20?  Yes, please!

Sucked in by Gap cardigans and coupons...  My beloved basic gray cardi is about 5 years old and is starting to show some age.  This one is just the perfect weight for layering without tons of bulk.

I've wanted a green cardigan for a while and had been contemplating this one from the J.Crew Factory for months.  I really like the fit of this one from Gap and think it will be a great piece to transition into fall.  (I can't believe I'm even talking about fall when it's not even July!)

Total = $118

I'm actually amazed that I ended up coming in under budget, especially since I went on vacation this month and I always seem to think I need a new vacation wardrobe.  It probably also helps that since I was visiting a boy I didn't really do any shopping while I was on my trip.


July Shopping Plan

I recently had a discussion with someone about how fun it is to rediscover items that are already in our closets.  I feel like I have a lot of items that need some attention after being neglected, so I'm going to focus on wearing those things and less on adding new things to my wardrobe.  I'm not saying I'm going on a complete shopping ban, but I am going to try to limit my purchases as much as I can.  The only actual need I really have right now is some work pants for the school year, but that's not really going to be much of a need for several months still.  

How did you do with your budget this month?  
Don't forget to go over to Fran's blog at Franish and check out the other budgeting bloggers!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fashion Friday: Vacation Wear

My vacation this summer ended up being a last minute trip to visit a close friend.  Within that vacation, we took a road trip to the West Coast and I really didn't know what to expect.  With packing, I pretty much stuck with simple tees that would be cute and comfortable for whatever activities.  I wanted to share what I packed for my week long trip.  I've always been an over-packer, so I had more than what I needed, but it all fit perfectly in my suitcase with room to spare.

1 & 4 - These are the J.Crew Factory textured Charley sweaters and I absolutely love them.  I didn't end of wearing either of them, but still think they were a good "just in case."

2 - My colorblock tee has made quite a few appearances on here...  It's cute, comfy, and soooo versatile!

3, 5, & 6 - Gap's "Essential" tees are probably my most worn item these days.  I wore these tees with my black maxi skirt and a jacket for my airplane rides.

7 - This Aerie tee is another cute, slouchy tee that's comfortable without being too sloppy.  I wore this one on one of our long driving days.

8 - I'm so happy I was able to snag this striped tee from Gap last month.  The minty embellishment by the neckline steps it up a notch from just a basic striped tee and it was pretty much the most dressed up I got during the week.

9 - I used to be a huge sucker for graphic tees, but don't really buy them much these days.  They're still great for those casual days when you want something a little more interesting than a basic t-shirt.

10 - Since the high temps were forecasted to be in the lower 70's, I decided to toss in a basic cardigan so that I had something to keep me warm that wasn't just a hoodie.

11 - These Aerie tees are so stinkin' soft.  The charcoal gray is a toned-down alternative to all of my other bright tees.  

12 - A lightweight basic hoodie was another essential for this trip.  I'm pretty sure I wore it almost everyday of my trip!

For bottoms, I kept it pretty basic with 2 pairs of AE boyfit jeans, a pair of black cropped pants, a black maxi skirt, and some denim shorts.  I wore the skirt on my airplane days (which was so comfy) and didn't end up wearing the shorts at all since it was pretty cool most of the time.  I wanted everything to be very easy to mix and match and I think I totally achieved that.

What do you pack for a casual vacation?  
What are your must have clothing items for summer travel?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Summer Vacation

One of the biggest perks to being a teacher is that I get about a 2 1/2 month break off from work.  Although I'm taking quite a few classes throughout the summer, I still managed to have a lot of free time for some fun.  

I ended up going on a slightly last minute trip to Washington last week.  One of my best friends moved back there a couple years ago and between my teaching schedule and his job with the military it hasn't worked for me to go out there until now.  He's made it back to KS a few times, but I was itching to go out there and see a new part of the country!  We found that we had some common time off and so I booked flights and was off on my adventure about a week and a half later!  (If you know me and how much of a planner I can be you know that going on a BIG vacation "last minute" like that is kind of crazy for me!)

I ended up going on a trip within a trip as we ended up going out to the coast to spend a few days at the beach.  I've never actually been to the beach / ocean before and this was also the first time I've traveled west of Colorado!

Oh my gosh, I love it out there!  First of all, I escaped KS just in time for the first wave of hot summer weather to hit.  In fact, I was actually a little under-prepared for the cooler temperatures along the beach.  It was lovely, though, and the perfect spot for my summer vacation.

I pretty much got to see the entire state of Washington from the eastern edge all the way out of west to the coast.  We spent some time visiting several of the parks and even a couple rain forests!  It was definitely a welcome change in scenery for this KS girl!

We stopped in Seattle on my last full day out there.  I didn't get to see much of the city (my friend that I was visiting isn't all that familiar with the Seattle area anyway), but it great to get out there anyway.  I can add that to my list of big cities I've been to now!

7 days sounds like a long time, but I would have stayed out there much longer if I could have.  It was absolutely beautiful and of course it was wonderful getting to spend some good, quality time with one of my best friends.  I think there are already some plans in the works for me to make another trip out that direction (hopefully sooner than later)!

And one last photo...  I'm a HUGE "Back to the Future" fan, so it totally made my day getting to see this DeLorean on the highway in Seattle.  Yes, it's complete with the OUTATME license plate just like in the movie!  My friend made sure to speed up so that I could snap some pics!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Best & Worst

Although it's already been about a month since school ended, I'm just now getting around to posting about it.  The end of the school year is always a little bittersweet...  I love my job, but I also love having a summer vacation to re-energize and prepare for a new school year.  I think one of my favorite things about teaching is that I get a fresh start each school year.  I enjoy having the freedom to change things up and have a fresh start with a new group of kiddos each year.  

 I thought I'd take a little time to go back and reflect on how this past school year went.  During the last week of school I had my students discuss and vote on the best and worst things about third grade.  I figured I'd do the same thing.

The worst...

  • My class this past year was very needy.  I had 13 boys and only 5 girls.  My boys were criers.  We're talking tears everyday from 8 and 9 year old boys.  It was very taxing at times and I feel like a lot of time was wasted dealing with their tears.  I can be a pretty sympathetic person at times, but I was totally and completely over it by the end of the year.
  • I missed A LOT of school days.  I'm on a lot of teams and committees with my school, which I really do enjoy, but for some reason this year it took me out of the classroom a ton.  I looked back and saw that I missed a total of 24 days of school this year.  23.5 of those days were professional days and the one half day that I did take as personal was to attend a funeral.  I spent soooooo many hours creating sub plans this year!
  • I didn't quite feel like I was on my "A game" all year.  I started out the school year on fire.  I kept up with everything and really felt good about the year.  That started slipping around October (when I started having to miss days and took on after school tutoring) and felt like the rest of the year I was just working to keep my head above water.  I think in a lot of ways I've learned from this and know what needs to be done next year to stay afloat a bit better.

And now for the best!

  • I had a really sweet class.  Despite their neediness, I really did love this group of kids.  It's amazing how they can completely drive you up a wall, but they're still just so sweet (and usually well-meaning) that you can't help but still love them at the end of the day.
  • I loved my after school tutoring kids.  Adding an extra hour to my work day is totally exhausting, but the 10 kids that I had for reading and math tutoring after school were really good kids and very hard workers.  It totally made that extra hour not all that bad after all.
  • I had some really supportive parents this year.  With all of the needs of my students, I really feel blessed to say that I had a lot of support from parents this year.  I had a few really tough kids and some of them had the kindest and most supportive parents that recognized how much I was trying to help their child succeed.  Having the support of parents make such a huge difference!
Now that things are starting to settle down, I should be back into posting at least a few times a week!  

What were your best and worst things about this past school year!?!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Fashion Friday: Travel Style

I'm preparing to go on a slightly last minute vacation and have been trying to plan out my outfits.  Let's put it this way...  I'm not sure what I will be doing other than that there's probably going to be a trip within a trip, so I've been kinda keeping my packing to basics.  

For my traveling days, though, I decided I wanted to be as comfortable as possible without looking like a complete slob.  My first flight leaves at 6 a.m. since I'll most likely be surviving on 3 or 4 hours of sleep, I'll probably be napping it out on the plane.  

Traveling In Style (& Comfort)

Here's why I chose this look:

  1. It's incredibly comfy.  I mean, it's basically like wearing a long t-shirt or blanket.  
  2. It involves layers.  Airplanes are known to be cold, but I've also been on flights where the air wasn't working properly and it was unpleasantly warm.  I'm actually traveling to a cooler climate, so the jacket will come in handy once I get there.
  3. It's not scrubby looking.  The last time I had a super early flight I wore holey jeans, a K-State tee, and a baseball cap.  (Which I think actually makes for a cute combo...)  I got to my destination around lunchtime and it ended up that my friend and I immediately met up with her mom for lunch at at somewhat nice restaurant.  I really hadn't planned that out and felt like a scrub...  A cute scrub, but a scrub, nonetheless.  Since this flight will be the same way (arrive around lunchtime), I want to be presentable for whatever the rest of the day brings.  (I might add that I will probably pack some denim crops in my carry-on just in case the need for pants arises for some reason.)
After a long search, I finally found a black maxi skirt that I liked!  (I had the worst time finding on that was short enough, not slinky or clingy, and that was a reasonable price.)  I found this one from Target, but since my store didn't have my size in the black I ordered it online.  I also broke down and bought a light wash denim jacket from Gap with a reward coupon and the teacher discount.  Both items are good basics that will transition perfectly into my everyday wardrobe and my teacher wardrobe.

Need some more inspiration?  Check out these pins!

What's your travel style?