Since I am trying desperately to rework, remix, rematch my closet, I love finding inspiration on instagram for work outfits, and I'd love to share some of the work style ladies I love the most right now. (I'm sure I haven't even scratched the surface though, so this is by no means the top 10 best ever... that's why it's only 10 of the best- I know there's more out there!) Also, the numbers don't mean anything- they're just how I put them into the post.
1. oneteachersstyle - I love how fun and colorful her outfits are!
2. occasionallyblonde - She features a lot of jeans, but she always looks so put-together.
3. my_teaching_style - A laid back style with weekend options too.
4. somethinggoodbg - Classic, simple (but cute!) outfits.
5. puttingmetogether - True to her name, she's always put-together with the right layered pieces!
6. caffeinatedcardigan - A lot of great cardigan/long sleeve style inspiration!
7. polishedwhimsy - She has some wonderful, unique pieces that are styled so well.
8. prissysavvy - Very upscale, corporate outfits that are beautiful to look at.
9. bcrladinaj - Blue collar outfits that I would love to emulate!
10. style_by_aggie - Simple color palette with really amazing combinations.
Which outfit do you love the most? Are there other work style influences you love on instagram?
It's been about 5 months since I created my new 101 in 1001 list... so I decided it was time to do an update! If you haven't heard about it, it's a list that you make of 101 things you want to accomplish in 1001 days, which is almost 3 years- about 2.75 to be more exact. Check out mine for some ideas, and google for some more! This is actually my second time doing this list. I did not get to cross off everything last time, but I did make a major dent, and I pushed myself to accomplish a lot- like SKYDIVING! It's not really about crossing off everything (the destination), but more about the experiences (the journey).
I figure that it would be worth it to post an update every so often, maybe a few times a year, to remind myself of my goals and to get my audience interested in creating their own list!
In honor of full disclosure, it's been a while since I've looked at my list, so I was happily surprised to note that I crossed off 6 more things since I last looked at it months ago:
7. Find a new podcast I love (04.15.17) - Up and Vanished - this podcast is amazing if you haven't checked it out yet. Almost like Serial- which I loved (the first season, anyway- I couldn't get into the second).
22. Refrain from buying anything superfluous for a month (04.30.17) - Besides the necessities like groceries, I haven't gotten any clothing items or splurged on any unneeded items... I'm sure you've heard a million times, but I'm trying my best to save my extra income for the wedding!
58. Start a new series (02.27.17) - The Wedding Series! I already have 3 posts out, and they typically come out the last day of the month (Mon, Wed, or Fri only). I have many ideas, so I'll either keep it running at once a month until after my wedding or stop them when my wedding happens but post more than once a month- we'll see!
82. Try a new fitness class (05.01.17) - I signed up for DailyBurn and I love it so far- I'm a week in on the BB&T workout plan- it's 3 weeks long, so 2 more to go. Then I really want to try Barre Harmony from them. So excited about my new fitness plans.
90. Pay for a stranger’s coffee, toll, etc. (03.11.17) - I paid for someone's toll when I went to visit my parents! Not exciting or extravagant, but hopefully it made them smile!
These are the items that will be crossed off soon!:
8. See a movie at the drive-in - As I'm typing this, Chris and I have plans to go to the drive in (FINALLY) to watch the second Guardians of the Galaxy!
33. Work on my attitude, being able to let go and patience - I could probably cross this off at any time, but I'll hold out until I really feel like I've been making a ton of progress. I am making definite progress now, but this is something I will continue to work on!
45. Throw out/donate 20 things without replacement (10/20) - Chris and I have both been purging our closets so while I didn't have a ton of items (I routinely purge), he definitely had a ton. I also finally came to peace with the fact that I can't wear most of my jeans from high school anymore and put them in the donate pile...
79. Learn lettering - When I finally get around to starting my 100 Days Challenge (which is on my 101 list too), I think I want to try lettering as my medium. My dream is to beautifully hand letter each wedding invite. A lot of work, but I think it's a gorgeous hand touch.
86. Tone my stomach - I mean, hopefully this is coming soon since I've been working out and trying to eat healthier/eliminate most sugar.
101. Surprise Chris with a get-away trip - I'm thinking about planning a quick weekend getaway for our 4 year dating anniversary! :)
Do you have a 101 in 1001? Would you try it? What items would you have on yours?
I was listening to The Strategy Hour podcast when one of the ladies pointed out that you basically need a niche... not 100% of the time, but a really good portion of the time because there are just SO many blogs out there.
After hearing that, I dismissed it a little bit because I've always dodged the niche recommendation. Why? Because let's face it, I love to blog about everything I'm interested in- why do I need to limit myself? What benefit would that bring? I thought to myself- this is just a recommendation, even though I've heard it from several sources. Also, another problem- what would I focus on? How could I pick basically one topic to blog about?
These thoughts occurred to me before Abagail and Emylee brought up another point that I'm not sure I've heard before: if someone finds a great recipe on your blog, they try it out, they love it, and come back to find more great recipes- but instead they find other things that they don't care about, then they're probably not going to stick around. They also said that you might have to lose some basic "followers" to gain loyal ones- the ones who love your niche content and keep coming back.
Wow. I've never thought of it like that before. I know several successful bloggers who are lifestyle bloggers who feature all sorts of topics. As a loyal follower of theirs, I know there may be some topics I'm not as interested in as others, but I continue to follow because I love most of their content, and them as an author/person.
Another thing to consider is (which Abagail and Emylee also brought up) do you want to monetize your blog? If so, what do you want to do to make money- e-courses, physical products, services- what? When you choose it, does it align with your blog? You're obviously not going to sell a baking e-course and then only feature books you love. It doesn't align. So my thoughts are- why can't you have the best of both worlds? Am I being too greedy?
Ultimately, I'd love to see myself as being an influencer (clothing? products that I love like flower delivery, etc?), a tpt (TeachersPayTeachers) author, and a(n education) podcaster with a successful (lifestyle) blog. So, to do that, I figured I needed to narrow down with posting more teaching posts, but still being able to have my lifestyle posts as well. Would I have to make two separate blogs? Now I'm almost thinking that I need a business coach to help me with some of these decisions. I don't want to have two different blogs, I don't want to create more of a niche, but I also want to be successful, so I know I'll have to make some sacrifices... but which ones are worth it?!
Also... am I just too new of a blog to be making these crazy decisions right now? Should I wait a while until I have more of a following, then do a survey to determine what my readers want? Also, EVERYONE and their mother is talking about bloggers needing to have an email list- AH! More I need to consider.
Anyway, I hope this post doesn't come off as being complainy- these are just some of the thoughts I've had recently and I'm hoping that others have some of the same ones- maybe we can start a discussion about it... or maybe the right person will see this and may have some solutions or advice. Either way, I'm excited about this blog, and where I can go in the future.
As of right now, I think I'll continue to do things (more or less) the same, but keeping in mind what the experts are saying. Down the line, I may decide that becoming a niche makes so much more sense, or maybe I'll decide that sticking it out as a lifestyle blog would be best. Also, right now I only post 3 days a week instead of 5 or more... so maybe it makes sense (down the line) to post more times a week, keep it lifestyle, but include more teaching posts.
What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear them! Are you in a similar situation? Are you like me and love The Strategy Hour podcast?
I got this idea from this post, and then I put it on my 16 Before 16-17 list, so I'm finally getting around to it as a Mother's Day gift! This cost me about $20, but I think it was worth it for something I wanted to do.
First, I had the kids pose on the playground and took a picture of them. Then I asked them to think about a word that best described them- I got a lot of "Nice," but I got a lot of good ones too- unique, intelligent, generous. Afterwards, I looked up some quotes for them to choose one that they really liked that had to do with their word. Like "Intelligent quotes" if as student said intelligent as their word. If none fit well, I had them choose a second word to do a quote with.
I edited the pictures with an app on my phone, photofy. I paid $1.99 to remove the watermark forever, but it's in the corner so it's not too bad, but you could also use a different photo editor.
I bought the frames from Walmart- they were roughly $1 each- I didn't want to buy them from the dollar store because I had to buy 24 of them and wait for shipping, etc. I chose "pick up in store" for Walmart and I think they were available the next day or two days later. I can't find the frames on Walmart's site right now, but I know Target was also running a deal where the frame was a little more expensive, but right in the $1.30ish range on sale and with the RedCard discount.
The pictures cost about $3.50 at Walgreens, but coupons are easy to find to get that price lower as well.
Overall, I liked the project and I think parents will too. I messed up a bit with the editing- I put some of the quotes and word too close to the edge and it either got cut off by Walgreens or by my picture frames. Some of them I had to place near the edge because it blended with the background too much but honestly, it's the thought that counts. Even if the parents don't like the picture, they can always reuse the frame! I could always go back and re-edit the pictures and re-print them too.
I want to add something handmade with this as well, something like a card made by the students or something cute from TeachersPayTeachers. I can't wait for the students to bring this home next Friday!
Would you try this? Do you have any suggestions on how to make this even better? What're you doing for Mother's Day gifts from the class?
Listening: Up and Vanished podcast- I can't say enough amazing things about this one! I love it!
Watching: Finding Dory (it was awesome- I loved it!!) + Harlots, Shades of Blue, Designated Survivor, Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, Law & Order: SVU, Teen Mom OG, Blindspot, Shark Tank, The Catch
Reading: Aloud a TON of kindness books for my month of kindness in the classroom (there will be a post coming next week all about it!)
Wearing: Dresses and skirts because the weather turned from reasonable to 100 degrees in no time at all (in April- we're hardly in May!)
Eating: What we have around the house- I've been trying to be better with making sure we eat everything we buy, and only going shopping every two weeks and surviving on leftovers and making sure I pack my lunch!
Planning: The wedding! I procrastinated for about 2 months, but now I'm back on it, making sure contracts are filled out and signed and contacting more vendors- cake, flowers, etc.
Feeling: Excited about the end of the school year- it's this month! But not as excited about doing summer school, even though the extra money will be nice for the wedding/honeymoon
Loving: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Switch and Hearthstone again! It's a great card game you can play on your laptop, phone, or iPad. Also, Chris, always- I had a moment where I felt overwhelmed by everything (especially work since I wasn't really going to have a summer break) and I felt that he might not have appreciated everything I was doing to save, plan the wedding, etc. And he overdid himself the following day to make sure I felt loved.
Hoping: That my summer goes well with the new school! I'm staying at my current school for the regular school year, but my district often changes summer school sites, so I'm at a different one this year with different admin and kids!
Excited: That the school year will conclude in a few more weeks! Still waiting to see if I hear back from any of the 15 schools I applied to (for summer school). I will be happy either way- extra income if I'm hired, and actual time to relax and focus on the blog/tpt if I'm not!
What have you been doing lately?
Check out Anne's blog, In Residence, to find her 'currently' link-up, and awesome style, life, and motherhood posts!
One of my favorite things to do is watch tv- I like to come home and unwind after a long day by getting comfortable and putting on a show. Instead of doing a monthly shows update, I want to do a quarterly update. Here's my Winter update.
If my show isn't running when I do the update, then I won't feature it (Game of Thrones, for example) OR, if I'm not currently watching it actively, I won't feature it (I'm way behind on The Walking Dead, so even though it just came back a while ago, I can't talk about it yet). If I'm binge watching a show but it's not actively on, I'll still put it on here.
There may be spoilers, so please read at your own risk!
Here are my thoughts on most of my current shows in ABC order:
*Shows Chris and I watch together
Are You The One?: Yeah, this is one of those MTV shows, but I put it on in the background this weekend as I was doing chores or playing games on my phone, and some of it is pretty interesting, so what can I say? I'm currently watching the season finale of season 5, and it seems like this group has been the least likely to earn the money, but I'm hoping they can still pull it off!
Blindspot*: Wow, so much has happened to this cast... especially Patterson. I'm still not over what happened to her first major boyfriend- he was just SUCH A GOOD GUY, and they were perfect. This show continues to keep me invested, and I really like the characters. Reade's drug problem is an interesting twist... I think he and Zapata will eventually get together even though they're torn apart right now.
Designated Survivor: Who doesn't love Kirkman's character? He's such a refreshing POTUS! Plus, the mystery behind what happened- with all the twists, like the VP getting shot by his wife- keeps me watching every week. I'm sure a lot of what goes on in this White House is for-tv, but I know some of it is steeped in reality, so it's cool to get a "behind the scenes" look at everyone's jobs in the highest office.
Grey's Anatomy: I think I've lost a little interest in this show at this point. SO many of the original characters are gone and some of the plots for the remaining characters are ANNOYING... like the fight between Mere and Maggie about Riggs and Amelia's character with Owen, OMG. Also, the plane episode? It was really good, but it's been done SO MANY TIMES. I loved the prison episode because it was different- they need another one of those episodes to hook the audience!
The Handmaid's Tale: Binging on the first 3 episodes makes me want to read this book so badly! Wow, was it captivating. I think this one is so wonderful because (if you haven't read the book) you don't know what happens in this world and some of it is just so obscene, so you never know what's coming. The way that the mistress of the house treats the main character after she got her period, holy shit 180...
Harlots: Am I most excited about this show or the Handmaid's Tale? I'm not sure. This one is definitely a little X-rated, but it's riveting, and I love the characters. Even though this is clearly fiction, I love historical dramas and the fact that it's set in a different time period where a lot of every day things were handled differently- like pouring waste on the streets. ;)
Law & Order- SVU: I feel like this show's airings are so sporadic- not sure if it has anything to do with the fact that I watch it on Hulu, but it doesn't come out every week for me. When it does come out, even though it's on its 18th season, it still manages to leave me wanting more- probably because the cases are so relevant!
Scandal: Oh my gosh. This new season has gotten me HOOKED. Last season was pretty lame, honestly, but I love how the characters feel that they have no way out from their "oppressors" who want to take control of the White House. I just thought about Olivia on the beach... wow, a lot has changed. Also, she's back with the president? Can they make up their minds? Also, there's been a lot of interesting filler episodes, like the alternate reality one with Fitz and Olivia. And thank God Huck is still alive! P.S. I love Quinn and Charlie.
Shades of Blue: I was blown-away by the first season, and this season is meh for me. I keep watching because some points are pretty good, but it's just not as enthralling as some of the other shows I watch. I love JLo though. Have you watched her in Enough? Probably my favorite movie she's done because she plays such a badass character.
Shark Tank: I think I'm too emotional to become an investor. Some of the stories and the GOOD people who have built these companies really get to me. When investors don't pick them, I feel so bad for the entrepreneurs! I feel better in the fact that their sales go up (at least for a short amount of time) from the show's exposure. Some of the products aren't that appealing, and then they get chosen... but then again, these are some of the top people in the field.
Teen Mom OG: Yey, the girls are back! Reading some of the comments on Facebook have got me thinking deeper about the moms... like who is working and who isn't, and what type of businesses their putting their money into or starting. I love seeing the moms do well and see them raising their children- can you believe that this all started 8 years ago?! The moms are basically my age so it's crazy to think about if I were in their shoes. Also, seeing some clips of the moms from the beginning seasons to now is insane- they've changed so much!
That's it! I think I covered all the shows I'm actively watching that are also actively on air. I watched most of the first episode of 12 Monkeys but haven't gotten into it enough to finish it, so we'll see. I know Chris loves it and thinks I will too, I just need to commit to it.
Please drop a comment so we can discuss these shows! I always love discussing them with other people! Is there a show you LOVE and would like to recommend it to me? I'm always looking for new shows to watch.
The very first thing Chris and I did when we started wedding planning was look for a venue. Good venues book FAST, and even though we started looking a year and a half away, when we actually booked (only a week or two after we started looking!), we had limited dates to choose from.
We discussed where we would generally want it, and then I started looking online from there. We knew we didn't care if it was in the same city we're currently located or if it was the city we were from, etc., as long as it was only a few hours away from everyone, at most. We were very open to the location. Many of our friends/immediate family are in one location, so having something fairly close to everyone was important to us- even if we ended up in another state, we could always buy plane tickets for ourselves, rather than have EVERYONE fly.
We also knew what "type" of wedding we wanted- something more outdoorsy and rustic, not a traditional church wedding. A 'one-stop' location where we could hold the ceremony and reception was ideal.
I searched and found 5-6 places I thought fit the bill that I really liked, then I looked at them with Chris and we settled on one that was our favorite from the first time we looked at it. We called and made plans to check it out in person (which I think is incredibly important- it was smaller than what we saw from pictures, but it still worked for us) and discuss more details.
Once we saw everything and talked in more detail about the venue, what's offered, what the price was, etc., we decided that the price was what we could afford and was reasonable, especially for a place we loved!
The main advice I would give is to do your research and visit prospective venues in person. This will help you narrow down your choices and picture everything. Know what your venue provides, doesn't provide, and what restrictions they have. Our venue has a lot of regulations, so we have to either be okay with it or look elsewhere- I know everyone wouldn't be okay with a lot of rules. This is one of the most important aspects of your wedding day! Don't rush with your selection, but once you know, jump on it, as locations get booked quickly. Another helpful aspect is to be flexible with the date, if you can. Chris and I were very open-minded with ours, and it helped. Our place (and other places may too!) discounted some summer months- like IN HALF- so if we didn't care too much about it being half indoors/half outdoors, we would have taken advantage of it. We just couldn't do it though, since we live in Florida and wanted our guests to actually enjoy our day ;)
The picture above is not our venue, but one of the ones we were considering. I can't wait to share pictures of everything after the wedding!
Do you have any advice for couples looking to book a venue? Tell us about the location you choose!
These are the next couple of books I've been reading... (Check out the first 4 books I read in 2017 here!) and unfortunately, I liked the first set better. I'm so glad I started my own book challenge (going on until the end of June- join anytime!) because it's been helping me stay on top of my reading. I've read more books this year than the past two years combined... and I really hate admitting that.
I would have at least one more on here, but instead of listening to an audiobook, I've been binging on Up and Vanished! It is SO good- right up there with Serial (season 1) for me. Have you listened to it? What do you think?
But anyway, here are my reviews on my recent books-
A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard
I had never read a book about anyone who had been kidnapped before, and this was so heart-wrenching. *spoiler* I'm glad that it ultimately had a good ending. I feel like the general population has misconceptions about what a kidnapping looks like or what victims go through, and although this is only one person's story, it definitely made me think a lot more about these situations and what kind of strength it takes to survive.
4/5 stars (304 pages) published 2011
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
It took me forever to finish this. When I first started listening to it when it came out, I could only get through a few chapters because it was SO creepy/awkward and voyeuristic. However, when I returned to it, it got much better and I was definitely hooked after a while. I loved the twist at the end and really enjoyed the last third of the book. This is a book to consider reading if you like darker, mystery novels.
3.75/5 stars (336 pages) published 2015
My Story by Elizabeth Smart & Chris Stewart
I found this book to be extremely repetitive. The end turned out to be better than most of the beginning/middle, but I felt like a lot of this was catered to the rumors that Elizabeth heard about herself- like that she has Stockholm syndrome (because she continually said she never developed any attachments to her kidnappers). I enjoyed A Stolen Life (as much as one could while listening to the horrors of what Jaycee had to go through...), so I thought I would enjoy this one too. It was okay, definitely not one of my favorites.
2.5/5 stars (320 pages) published 2013
I would be curious to see how you liked these books if you've read them! I know The Girl on the Train was very popular a few years ago, but it took me a while to finally get to it. I haven't seen the movie, but I heard it was worse than the book (is any movie better than the book, though?!).
This post was inspired by Carly at The College Prepster. She recently wrote about her ideal weekend, and I loved this idea. I read a few of the comments on her post, and it's amazing how everyone has a different idea of their perfect weekend. One of the comments I read was about someone who wanted to fill every second of their Saturday and Sunday... that is definitely not my perfect weekemd!
I am a serious homebody, but I do like to go out! It honestly depends who I'm with and what we're doing. Sometimes people and activities are recharging, and sometimes they're super draining. I think I'm more sensitive to this as an introvert.
My ideal weekend is a mix between staying at home relaxing and being productive, and doing something fun out of the house. So, doing something out of the house could be waking up around 7:30/8, getting ready quickly, and taking the dogs to the dog park for an hour. On the way to the park, we like to grab slushies from Sonic. Another thing I'd love to get out and do would be going to a nice restaurant with an outside seating area with a live band (if it's not too hot). Also, getting a coffee/tea or lunch with a friend and talking for an hour or two. At most, I would do 1-2 of these things for a well-rounded weekend.
As for my time in the house, I would want to relax and catch up on shows (Scandal, some reality TV, maybe a movie, etc.), and play some games on my phone (Hay Day, Hearthstone, etc.). I also love to browse Bloglovin', read a little bit, and perhaps create some posts.
But, I also don't like it if I'm too lazy, so I would make sure to clean up the house (sweep, mop, tidy up, do the laundry, some other cleaning), work on some outstanding projects for work (like online professional development courses, some lesson plans, or creating for teacherspayteachers). I might also throw in a nice home-cooked meal for Chris. ;)
Ideally, I'd have a nice balance between time with Chris and time to myself to make sure I can do what I like and be productive, and he can get time to himself as well. Obviously there would be plenty of snuggle time with our puppies, too!
When my weekend is too hectic, it feels like I don't get a break- I am not one of those people who can constantly be on the go, making several plans a day. I need time to relax at home and not do anything, but have some time leftover for responsibilities that can get neglected when the workweek gets crazy.
What does your ideal weekend look like? I would love to hear how others like to spend their free time!
If you haven't heard about the ABC Countdown before, it's a fun way to count down to the end of the school year! The last 26 days of school are themed- one letter-themed day for each of the 26 days. You can make this as elaborate or as simple as you want/need! Also, this does not have to be an all day thing! Some of mine will only be 1 hour or so.
I've included some ideas for each letter/day, and I bolded the days that I'll be doing, with some resources for my choices. If you like the theme that I picked for a day, feel free to use the same links. If you only like a handful of my days, use what you'd like! Hopefully this helps both teachers and students get through the end of the school year...
These are all FREE resources that I found through TeachersPayTeachers.
A- Art, Awards, Author, American, Addition
B- Beach, Books, Bingo, Buddy reading
C- Cookie, Camping, Crazy hair, Crazy socks, Character
D- Drawing, Donut, Dress-up
E- Earth, Eric Carle, Extra recess, Exercise, Eat lunch in class, Experiment
F- Finger painting, Favorite, Future, Fitness, Flashlight, Fruit
G- Game, Go Noodle
H- How-to, Helper, Hawaii
I- Ice pop, International, I (share about you), Indoor recess
J- Joke, Jersey, Jammie, Journal, Jelly beans
K- Kettle corn, Koo Koo Kangaroo, Kindness
L- Lollipop, Lights out, Letter, Legos, Lunch with teacher
M- Music, Memory, Mismatch, Movie, Minute-to-win-it
O- Outside, Outrageous outfit, Origami
P- Play-doh, Poetry, Picnic, Popcorn, Pajama
Q- Quiz, Quiet read, Question, QR code, Quiver, Quilt
R- Reading, Recess, Rainbow, Running, Rotation
S- Stuffed animal, Story time, STEM/Science, School spirit, Sports
T- Twin, Teacher, Time capsule, Treat, Toy, Tye dye
U- USA, Used book, Under (desk), Uno, University, Unforgettable
V- Video, Vacation, Visitor
W- Water, Walk, Weather, Wacky, Watch a movie, Wild, Wild, West
X- X marks the spot, X & O (tic tac toe), eXtraordinary awards, eXtra fun, eXercise
Y- You (celebrate each kid), Yoga, Yarn, Year end (party)
Z- Zoo, Zero, Zoom out of school
Have you ever done the ABC countdown? What are some of your favorite resources?
Blog posts from 2014-2015 were transferred from my original blog on blogger, Oshiro Design, to my updated website, oshirodesigns.com