january target dress haul


We live in a very dangerous area–and by that I mean that there is a Target right across the street. The other night I headed over to pick up some soup for my sick hubby…and walked out with 3 dresses. (Has this ever happened to you?). Usually with Target I will either hate everything they have or love everything they have. Obviously this time I was pretty smitten with their dress selection, so here is a little summary of what got:

cream xhilaration lace dress
This one is my favorite of the three. It’s just very sweet and has a vintage feel. I wore it to a baby shower yesterday and a group of adorable ladies in their sixties were fawning over it. (So, ya know, that’s the demographic I fit in best with). There are no zippers or buttons or anything; you can literally just throw it on and go.

white jacket
I love the dress even more with my favorite jean jacket (this one is from Forever 21). I kept my jewelry simple (the studs are from Kohl’s and the long gold necklace is also from Target), and after starting with my Tom’s wedges, I ended up going with flat sandals (I think they were like $8 from Styles for Less). I was comfortable all day and I could focus on what really mattered–being there for the mommy-to-be!
($27.99, size medium)

Oh yeah! You probably can’t see my toe nail polish very well, but it’s Ruby Wing color-changing polish in “Ride ‘Em Cowgirl” from my January Birchbox. I love it! It really does change color in the sun!

merona chambray dress
blue hot
I absolutely love the look of chambray shirts, but they never really look great on me. I gave this tunic/dress a shot though, and I actually really like it. The skinny belt gives it a little more shape, and you could switch out the belt with any other slim one to change the look. I like it for a weekend look, and if it were very warm outside I would wear it with wedges like these (from Kohl’s) or sandals.

Today I am wearing it with leggings and my favorite Cathy Jean boots while I sit around and blog/ avoid doing my homework. I’ll probably throw a scarf on tonight when I meet up with my husband for dinner. It’s not fancy, but I think I’ll find myself wearing this a lot, switching up the belt, adding a cami underneath, or pairing it with patterned leggings. It’s super comfy too!
($27.99, size small)

striped merona flared dress
I’m a sucker for the Mad Men ’50’s/’60’s style dresses, and I couldn’t resist this one. It’s polyester and rayon, and the quality is amazing for the price. The fabric is fairly thick and sturdy, the construction is fantastic.

One of my favorite features is the tiny loop of thread that keeps the belt buckle at the center of your waist. I have never seen this on a dress before, but it’s genius! It can be so annoying when you have to keep twisting your belt around to the front after it sneaks over to your side again and again.

The neckline is very flattering and I like the pleated detail. It’s sleeveless, but the straps are wide enough that your bra straps wouldn’t show. I think I am going to wear this dress to an upcoming wedding, and it will be nice to have a drama-free undergarment option.

black side
You could probably wear almost any color shoe, but I paired this dress with my Calvin Klein pumps from Marshalls.

I love any excuse to wear my signature red J. Crew Jackie cardigan! The cut of a fitted cardigan compliments this dress really well.
($27.99, size small)

So if you’re in my neighborhood, I’ll meet you at Target and we can do some serious dress shopping while the cute styles last!

spelling bee word wall


The school spelling bee is tomorrow!  I’ve trained my 6th graders well, and I’m certain that one of my students will win!  We started learning the words on the Scripps National Spelling Bee word list by creating signs with one spelling word and the definition.  Each student made a colorful sign with the word, its definition, and artwork that represented the word.  They taught each other how to spell the words, and practiced spelling their word in front of the class (“say, spell, say!”).  I needed something to block the morning sun from my 1st period class’s eyes anyway, so we made a Word Wall from all the spelling words.  Students try to incorporate the spelling words into their comments as much as possible (“mugwump” gets a lot of action), and even if their eyes are wandering every so often, at least they will probably rest on our colorful Word Wall eventually.  I can’t wait for the competition tomorrow! 🙂  

barnes & noble mini haul

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week at Barnes & Noble, so teachers get 25% off all their purchases!  I needed a couple of things, so I headed on down this Saturday, and this is what I picked up:



This calendar is actually for my piano studio, but I still got the discount.  I was surprised that the calendar section was already pretty much picked over, but at least I got this one for 50% off (plus my 25% discount, so 75% off!)  I just think it’s a nice little touch to put up a calendar that your students like to check out each month.  I try to just follow my students’ interests, so in the past I have done things like High School Musical, Taylor Swift, Glee, Despicable Me, Angry Birds, and last year, Angry Birds Star Wars (oh yeah!).  I also write all my students’ birthdays on the calendar and try to remember to bring them a little treat on the lesson closest to their special day.  It’s a little thing, but I think it has contributed to the fact that many of my students have stayed with me for EIGHT birthdays! 🙂


I’ve been eyeing these bookends for a while, so I went ahead and indulged a little since I was going to get my discount.  I am going to begin reading “The Cay” with my 6th graders next week, and I thought these would help me keep my class set nice and organized.  I’m going to assign one student per week as The Librarian, and he or she will make sure that we get all of the books back at the end of the period in a nice straight line between the bookends.  I have a lot of teal in my room, too, so they look super cute.


We love John Green’s Crash Course US History YouTube channel already, so I was excited when I found out that he is also an award-winning author.  I read “The Fault in Our Stars” over Christmas break (loved it), and it is currently being passed around between some of my higher-level (and more mature) 6th graders.  I have read a few chapters of “An Abundance of Katherines,” and while I’m enjoying it, I don’t think I want to be the one to provide it to 11-year olds.  The subject matter is a little bit more mature, but I can see high school students really enjoying this book.  I’ll save it in case I end up teaching high school, and I’m intrigued by the story line in the meantime.  John Green can do no wrong!  


I usually do more damage at Barnes & Noble, but one of my New Year’s resolutions is to reign in my spending.  Maybe I will get a gift card one of these days and have a few more items to share another haul post.

Did you get any great deals with your teacher discount this week?


free school supplies from reddit


At the beginning of the school year, a friend of mine sent me a link to a Reddit project that matches teachers with people who are willing to donate specific classroom supplies. (The link I used unfortunately doesn’t work any longer, but I am assuming that Reddit will run this project again next school year and advertise it on their site). I wrote a list of the specific things that I always run out of or wish I had in my classroom.

A super nice (anonymous) lady mailed me two boxes full of pencils, markers, card stock, glue, crayons, and colored paper. I was so touched, and so were my students! We used some of the supplies to make her a really cute thank you card, and now whenever I want to do a creative project, I have all the supplies I need. I am really into “foldables” and posters and “projects-in-a-day,” and now I have all the card stock, markers and glue I need so that my students can actually make quality projects. I asked for a bunch of mechanical pencils, so now I don’t stress out when someone doesn’t have a pencil; I just give them one and they don’t even need to waste time sharpening it. We love the box of fine tip markers, and my 6th graders use them often for “Rainbow Reading” (blog post on that activity to come!) and for editing each others’ papers.

We love Reddit and nice people who donate school supplies!

5 things I loved about #dressember2013


During the month of December I participated in a fundraising/ awareness event to help end modern day slavery. Similar to events like Movember, to “do” Dressmeber, you wear a dress every day for the month of December. That’s 31 days in a row! You post photos of your outfits to Instagram or Facebook or wherever you like to post photos, and ask people to sponsor you in order to raise money to end modern day slavery. The creator of Dressember (Blythe Hill) partnered with the International Justice Mission, and they received 100% of the money donated in order to support the work they do to combat human trafficking. Here is what I loved about this experience:

#1–The physical act of participating–You definitely start to feel narcissistic after taking and posting daily selfies, but I really liked the physical effort of finding an appropriate dress for every day, and even finding the time to take a picture. I find that putting physical action into less tangible concepts is very helpful for me (things like actually kneeling down to pray, or making a collage of things that I want to accomplish). Every morning when I put on a dress, I thought about girls who don’t have closets full of clothes like I do, and who don’t have simple freedoms like choosing what to wear. Just looking down at my outfit every day reminded me to pray for women who are enslaved, and to be grateful for everything I have.

#2–The community of women on Instagram–I posted all my pictures on Instagram and made sure to hashtag #dressember2013. It was so much fun to click on the hashtag and explore pictures from other women who have the same passion for social justice that I do. I started following some of them, and a few followed me. We left each other messages of encouragement and got fresh inspiration for how to spice up the same old dress over and over again.

#3–Wearing a dress felt powerful–Often when I wear a dress I feel feminine, and a just a bit vulnerable. I can’t say that I have ever felt particularly powerful while wearing a dress before. But during Dressember, as I saw the thousands of dollars pouring in as a result of our fashion choices, I absolutely felt powerful. When I saw that the International Justice Mission had shut down a brothel, I felt like my dress had something to do with that. I’ll admit that some days it was a bit of a chore to put together yet another outfit with a dress, but when I remembered how much good it was doing, I just felt like a superhero!

#4–The fashion challenge aspect–I love the look of a dress with tights and boots, but when it comes down to it I usually just wear jeans and a sweater. It was actually a lot of fun to put together outfits using the dresses that I had, plus try to stay warm, and be work-appropriate. There were a few days at work when we had to wear college sweatshirts or school colors, so that added a little extra challenge. It is almost impossible to look sloppy when wearing a dress, so it was good for me to be forced to dress up every day. I am going to try and incorporate more dresses into my wardrobe, and remember that mixing and matching can stretch my wardrobe more than I think. I only wore about 1/5 of the items in my closet, and I hardly even missed the other items!

#5–The money–We raised over $165,000! That’s incredible! Next year I am going to set a goal for myself to personally raise a lot more money, and now that I know how everything works, I can spread the word a little more effectively. When next December rolls around, I highly encourage you to participate! Here are all the Dressember outfits I wore, in case you need some inspiration:

dress 1



dress 2and3

dress 4

dress 5

dress 6

dress 7and8