The First Days, Version 8.1

The first day of school for us here in Denver was a couple of weeks ago.  Years past, I always carefully chose my first day of school outfit – something that was serious and professional, while still laid back enough to signal that I was a real human being and not a robot. This year though, I spent maybe 5 minutes thinking about what to wear the night before. I’m looping with my kids this year – I taught about half of them last year for 10th grade Bio, and now again this year for 11th grade Chem. So these kids already know me directly or at least by reputation. They’re already broken in.

The first day back at my school is a freshman 9th grade only day, so I get the whole day free to myself in my classroom, working – which is glorious. So I chilled out in a loose top and stretchy jeans. For my real first day of school, I smarted up by wearing an Oliver Bonas dress that made me feel very “age appropriate” at 37. Whether that’s a good thing or not, I’m still on the fence. Is there such a thing as age appropriate anymore? I think yes – but that’s a whole other ball of wax that will need to be tackled another day in another blog post.

THLT anthropologie swing top

THLT anthropologie swing top 2

THLT anthropologie smocked swing top

THLT anthropologie smocked swing top2

top: anthropologie – belt: banana republic – jeans: mother denim – shoes: target

THLT oliver bonas lexi dress

THLT oliver bonas dress

THLT oliver bonas lexi jacquard dress2

THLT oliver bonas lexi dress2

THLT oliver bonas lexi jacquard dress

THLT oliver bonas dress2
dress: oliver bonas – shoes: target – lipstick: bo ho cosmetics in 103

Feeling Wild

Hi all, today we started week two of the school year, and as you can probably imagine (and empathize), I’ve been busy, too busy to blog my back log of photos!  I have 4 sets of photos from last week with some guest appearances from other teachers, but they will have to come later. Tonight I have just enough time to talk a tiny bit about my outfit from today before I hit the hay.

At the start of summer (right at the end of my 6 month shopping ban), I popped into J.Crew to see what they had in the sale racks. I found this prim, stripe-y shirt, and bought it with out much thought. The moment I got home, I regretted the purchase. I just know that this is destined to be one of those shirts I wear once a year. It’s one of those shirts that will need ironing after each wash, and I know myself too well – I won’t do it more than once or twice a year. I’m that lazy. It’s cute enough and proper enough to be a work closet staple – if only it was one of those wrinkle free fabrics. Needless to say, today was the first day I wore it, and it will probably make another appearance in the spring, but that just might be it. Ironing is the worst!

These shoes on the other hand…ARE THE BEST. So ridiculously soft and comfortable, chic and casual, perfect for school. I’ve been watching youtube videos from Aimee Song and Lizzy Hadfield, and both of them wear their Gucci loafer slides all the time and they make them look really effortlessly cool. There is no way in flying hell I’m ever spending that much on shoes ($650!!!!!), so I went searching for a more affordable option. These Banana Republic demi slides are IT.  I’ve worn them to school 3 times in the past 2 weeks, and for someone who has a ridiculous amount of shoes, that’s got to be saying something. Right?

THLT banana republic Demi Slide 2

THLT jcrew popover short sleeve 2

THLT jcrew popover short sleeve

THLT banana republic Demi Slide

shirt: j.crew – belt and shoes: banana republic – jeans: f21

Teacher Report Week

Last week was my first week back to school from summer vacation, and I’m feeling very “unrested” still. I’m not ready for school to start again – there’s still so much summer left and I still have things on my bucket list! I haven’t yet climbed my 14ers for the year, and I only made it to one (out of 4) Colorado National Park. These two months have flown by, and I bet the next ten months will crawl by. Some people live for the weekends, turns out I live for the summer vacations. B, on the other hand, is happy I’m going back to work. He works from home and says I’m a distraction. *shrug*

This week I’ve been sticking to jeans and t-shirts. I’m just not ready to start wearing “work” clothes yet. My legs are pretty scarred up from getting mauled by mosquitos so shorter skirts and dresses are staying in the closet for the rest of the summer for the most part. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m kind of ready for winter clothes again. Cue the chugging air conditioning in my new classroom! A light sweatshirt has been very handy lately, so it’s a good thing I picked up two new ones recently!

The first one I bought during my trip to New York in early August. I had received a catalog randomly one day in the mail from United by Blue, and thought the brand looked interesting. They make their clothes from sustainable materials, and run community cleanups where trash is removed from waterways and beaches. They only have stores in NYC and Philadelphia, so I made a mental note to check them out during my few days in Brooklyn. I lucked out and went on the last day they were having a big sale, so I picked up this super soft perfect-for-the-Colorado-aesthetic pullover and a pair of board shorts (which at this rate won’t be needed ’til next summer).

THLT united by blue

THLT united by blue evergreen pullover

THLT addidas gazelle

sweatshirt: united by blue – tshirt and belt: urban outfitters – jeans: mother denim – shoes: adiddas

This next sweatshirt was a birthday gift from B. I had pinned it sometime a while ago, and I guess he went Pinterest stalking to get ideas. He really is the best. Heaps of other teachers said they loved my sweatshirt when I wore it during one of our millions of various staff meetings. I mean, we all do our best, daily. I think this is the best teacher sweatshirt ever, and I plan on wearing it all through the fall and winter. I just hope it doesn’t shrink in the wash, as it doesn’t feel like it’s made from the best quality material. Also, the inside fuzzies shed all over everything since it’s still new. Fingers crossed! The color is listed as an “ivory”, but it’s really a very light peachy pink color which is different from what I normally wear. Underneath I wore a new-in-this-summer tank from Madewell that is made out of a ribbed sweater material that gives me serious 70’s vibes. Come next week though, they will be stored away for the weekends since students come back on Tuesday!

THLT bando i did my best

THLT mother denim

THLT madewell ribbed sweater tank

sweatshirt: bando – tank: madewell – belt: urban outfitters – jeans: mother denim – shoes: birkenstock

Reflections on the School Year

The last day of school for teachers is finally here! It’s been a year of extremes – and I’m writing this up in my new classroom (at the same school)! After 3 years of photographing outfits in room B201, I am moving to a new science room that is properly set up with a fume hood. I’m teaching Chemistry next year, for the first time ever.  That’s right, every year is a new challenge, and every year is a different beast to slay! So goodbye, room B201, you’ve been good to me. Hello, room B241!

THLT last day

THLT last day2jpg

sunnies: freebie swag from b – cardigan: american apparel – top: f21 – jeans: mother denim – belt: jcrew – shoes: saltwater sandals

This year was like a split personality. On one end, I had the best year I’ve ever had with students. This was the first year I’ve ever had students actually thank me on a daily basis. More than one kid did this, every day.  It seems silly, and it seems small, but holy crap! After 6 years of investing mentally, emotionally, and introspectively into my classroom with (what felt like more often than not) zero thanks for my hard work, this year’s batch of amazing young humans breathed new life into me. The letters I got at the end of the year really made my efforts totally worth it. I had kids write me that they “will never look at the world the same way again”, and “thank you for making me enjoy science”, and “you’re a really good teacher who isn’t afraid to expose their students to the real world, it is important that you do that because it sticks”. Words can’t even express how good this feels.  I just can’t even. *tears*

On the other, I had a very challenging year with the educational system. At our closing meeting this morning, our principal talked about the importance of never giving up on our students, and advocating for them, no matter what it takes.  The word advocate really stuck in my mind, because I thought about all my kids and how I will always advocate for them, and of their letters thanking me for it. But then I thought, who is advocating for me? Am I my only advocate (professionally)? Do we teachers all have to fight our own individual battles, or is that just part of the culture here at my school? Here in Denver, we have an evaluation system tied to your pay, and tied to whether or not you get to keep your job. It is not meant (or maybe used?) to actually help you grow as an educator, because there’s too much at stake professionally. In addition, there is absolutely no incentive to go above and beyond, because to be better than just an “effective” teacher is to be a unicorn. I don’t want to go down a negative rabbit hole, because that’s not where my heart is. Instead, I’ll leave you with this picture of a pin, and a picture of how rewarding teaching can feel.

396269_229953693753210_146778346_nPhoto May 26, 7 43 58 AM

Last Fridays

There are only 2 (two) more Fridays left in the school year. Final exams start tomorrow, and end by this Friday. I’m giving up on wearing anything more than jeans and t shirts from here on out. This is what I wore to school last Friday, because it snowed that day, and I was still cold. Harrumph.

THLT Patagonia snap t

THLT upper playground hunters point

THLT Patagonia pullover

pullover: patagonia – tshirt: upper playground – jeans: mother denim – shoes: vans – watch: fitbit blaze – belt: urban outfitters

Cusp of Spring

It’s warming up here in Denver, but it’s been a rocky spring.  Our garden was first pummeled by a late spring snow storm, only to get ripped to shreds by a hail storm a couple of weeks later! This set of photos are from the start of the month, in the thick of the weather see-saw that is spring in Colorado.

This shirt dress is from COS, picked up during my spring break trip to Toronto. It’s roomy, edgy, fun, and it HAS POCKETS! I wore it out to a girl’s night dinner, and I was asked exactly 4 times if I was headed to Denver Fashion Week after dinner by servers and strangers. That MUST mean something cool – right? The leggings are from Costco (they have heaps more than just food!), and they are the softest, warmest, leggings ever. More to come from Costco in the future. None of it is particularly fashionable, or glamorous, but very, very, practical.

On a side, note, B and I got engaged! more to come on that later.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

THLT COS shirtdress blundstone2

THLT COS shirtdress blundstone

THLT COS shirtdress blundstone3

THLT COS shirtdress3

THLT COS shirtdress

THLT COS shirtdress2

sweater and dress:cos – leggings: costco – boots: blundstone – bracelet: julia szendrei

If You Must, Do it Directly (guest post!)

Hey guys, Erika asked if I (one of her friends/ colleagues) would want to write a guest-post in her blog.  Sounded fun, so I agreed.  You’ve seen me here before!  Erika and I have been teaching at the same school for 3 years strong.  We have also bonded over the challenge of fly-fishing – I’m sure you’ll read about some fishing this summer.  We will be teaching partners next year, which I am very much looking forward to (<- ignore the prepositional stranding throughout!).

People who get along tend to share values in common.  Turns out I get along with people who share my love for being outdoors – my closest friends are women who don’t paint their nails compulsively, but rather hike, bike, run, climb, and compete in their free time.  All my other friends are men with whom I play sports.  I love people who can yell at each other [or more accurately, when I can give them a hard time on the sports field], and then 2 minutes later we’re over it.  Environments where there are so many emotions/too much sensitivity can be a struggle to manage for me. I find that when people handle disagreements with the right balance of sensitivity and reason (emphasis on reason), they are easier to get along with.

I think that’s one reason Erika and I will crush the co-planning gig for Chemistry next year.  Erika is a direct communicator, just like I am.  My prediction is that we will be VERY efficient in meetings, but have the right amount of socializing in the mix.  Due to this predicted efficiency, I think I will finally hit my stride in accomplishing all the things teachers have to do in the 12 minutes of plan time that aren’t consumed by meetings about meetings, more meetings, emails, phone calls, data trackers, and more data trackers.

I am looking forward to what it might be like if my life were NOT consumed by my job – hopefully round three of Chemistry will be less of a struggle than the previous two years.  Also, wish me luck as I try to convince Erika to give up some hours over the summer to plan out Chemistry content so we can save time in the fall!

As an aside on the note of direct communication, if you haven’t watched the full monologue of Hasan Minhaj at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, you should really get on that. In my opinion, comedy is one of the most engaging forms of entertainment.  When you couple it with direct communication,  there isn’t anything more complex or a more astute presentation of information.  Hasan’s monologue was so good that I have watched it three (3) times – worth every minute.  Finally, and most importantly, I wish I could teach class like this monologue EVERY DAY.

“Do you want to know what he’s not doing while he’s golfing? Being president. Let the man putt-putt…  apocalypse delayed; take the W.”  – Hasan Minhaj

THLT jorgs3

THLT jorgs

THLT jorgs4

THLT jorgs2