The First Days

This is a month late – school has been in for 4 weeks now. I’ve been busy. I’ve started mysef on a very strict 3 days a week workout session after school schedule, because for the first time ever, I’m paying out the nose for a monthly bougie gym membersip.  I’m also super motivated by money, so I have to get my money’s worth by taking at least 3 classes a week where I’m forced to beat my body into submission until my muscles are soaking in lactic acid all weekend. So reader, that’s why I haven’t been posting. My muscles hurt, and all I want to do when I get home is drink wine and eat Costco sized 6-layer dip and chips for dinner.

Therefore, a month later, here are photos I snapped of my school BFFs on the first day of school. There is Tom, in his proletariat 2.o outfit. Then there is Melissa, of whom I could only get one decent photo, because my camera ran out of bateries. You will be seing both of them again, one day. The comon thread this year in first day fashion, is ‘chill’, ‘ath-leisure’, and ‘I’m too cool for school’. Agree? I ❤ them.

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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

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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

The Summer Reset – 11 Mile Canyon

I picked up fly fishing this year with a hand me down rod from B, and some learner’s camaraderie from Rachael. I’ve been out fishing about 10 times now, and I have yet to catch a single fish. Obviously I still have a lot to learn – maybe my knots are too big, maybe my line is too short, maybe my cast is too rough, or just maybe, fish are too damn smart to be fooled by my tricks. Regardless of my luck/lack of skill, it’s darn lovely to be out in the middle of a river, relatively alone, and listening to the sound of water. Even more exciting are the small little adrenaline rushes you get when you see fish smell your fly only to promptly ignore it and eat a bug mere inches away from your fly. One day, fishies, one day.

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A couple weeks ago, Rachael and I took a quick little one nighter camping trip to 11 Mile Canyon with the intent to catch heaps of fish to cook over the camp fire. But then, there was a fire ban in effect. And then, it rained on us almost all evening and night. At one point, huddled under a tree in our raincoats, we debated giving up and driving the 2 hours back to Denver. Thankfully the rain let up long enough for us to cook a meal, drink some beers, and play a few rounds of Bananagrams. Lastly, neither of us caught a fish. Rachael got 2 hits though, so there’s that. It was still an enjoyable 2 days, and we got some lovely views even at the crowded campground.

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IMG_6117Until next time, fishies….

The Summer Reset – The Fjällräven Classic

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About a month ago, B and I went on an beautiful, memorable, challenging, and downright epic 42 mile backpacking trip here in Colorado. About a week after we got back from Europe, we set out to start our trip on the Fjällräven Classic.  The Classic in the USA is a 3 day trek through the mountains with about 200 like minded people from all over the world organized and facilitated by the Swedish outdoor brand Fjällräven. Here is more info on the story behind the Classic, and info on the USA Classic.

The Fjällräven Classic concept is simple: to encourage and enable more people to get out and enjoy trekking.

You can read more about B and I on the trek here on B’s Blog.

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I’ve been backpacking before, so between B and I, we already have the necessary gear. With everything I needed, my pack rang in at just around 30 pounds, give or take a few with/without water. I use B’s hand-me-down pack, an Osprey Aether 70 which fits me really well even though (or because) it’s a men’s pack. For sleeping, I have an REI bag that is rated down to 20˚F and a air pad that frankly is not thick enough. I can never sleep well camping. I wake up ever 20 min or so with aching hips, so I end up tossing and turning all night, every night, no matter how exhausted I am. B and I share a Big Agnes tent, and a Jet Boil stove, and the rest is pretty standard. I have old Keen hiking boots that have never once given me a blister, and I wore light weight Arcteryx hiking pants with sweat wicking t-shirts from Costco. The one and only new thing for me on this trip was trekking poles. They helped propel me up steep grades, tempered steep downslopes, and I’m very, very glad I had them for this type long distance climb. My poles came off of a snowshoeing kit I bought at Costco over the winter, so they’re are not fancy at all, but definitely useful.

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We bought tickets back in April, and I quickly realized that I would very seriously need to start training. The route description even gave B pause, so I took a brutally honest evaluation of my fitness level and started planning out my training routine.  To ease me into exercising, I started yoga once or twice a week at my neighborhood studio, The Yoga Mat. Prior to this, my exercise came strictly from sporadic 7 minute workouts at home, snowboarding, and walks. To prep my weak and injury prone low back for the weight of a backpack, I started pilates once a week at my neighborhood pilates studio, Manna Pilates and signed up for 3 private lessons spaced out over 3 months. Gradually, I added in running (a mile at a time – I loathe running) once or twice a week, and supplementing my yoga and pilates classes with the Nike Fit App workouts at home. In May, my friend Melissa introduced me to spinning classes at Endorphin. We both bought a 3 month unlimited package, and I started going to their classes 2-3 times a week to work on my cardio endurance, which has always been non-existent. To train for the elevation and just the realities of the trek, B and I went on training hikes every weekend with fully loaded packs in the mountains close to Denver. By the time the classic came around, I felt ready. My cardio endurance was 5 times better than it was, I had stronger core strength, and I knew I could make at least 10 mile hikes with no problems.

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B and I are planning to do this same trip again next summer, and we will probably rope some of our friends and family in to join us. The price is a bit steep – as is essentially everything Fjällräven branded –  but I really think you get your money’s worth and more.If you’re curious for more, check out the tag #fjallravenclassicusa on Instagram, and Fjällräven’s Facebook page.

classicUSA

All the photos here were taken by B and I, with the exception of the very last one, which was taken by Ali Vagnini.

The Summer Reset – Paris

Paris…la Ville Lumière.  I don’t speak any French past “Bonjour madame!” and “un café s’il vous plaît!” Thankfully, I got a quick little primer on French manners from our Australian-Parisian friends Daniel and Libby the first couple of days of our Paris trip. Parisians are extremely polite, so if you travel there and stick to the usual American manners, you’d be considered rude. Greetings, please, and thanks are very important and expected. For example, when you enter a store, cafe, anything really, Parisians always say “Bonjour madame/monsieur!”, and same when they leave. I certainly don’t do that normally here in the states (though maybe I’m just rude all the time), but I definitely was conscious to greet everyone right away everywhere I went in Paris.  I also didn’t experience much of the famed Parisian snottiness/irreverence during my time there.  Maybe those two things go hand in hand? I knew I would be out exploring solo for half our time there, with B at his conference WordCamp Europe (the reason for his travels in the first place). So it was really helpful to have a local break things down for me before venturing off on my own!IMG_3834.jpg

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The best way to get around Paris is by bicycle, and paris has the best ride-share bicycle system, the Velib. So simple, so accessible, and so affordable. For almost the same price as a one way Metro ticket (€1.90) you could rent a Velib for 24 hours, 30 min at a time (€2). Bike lanes are everywhere, and Parisian drivers are very aware and careful of cyclists. The Metro is great for longer distances, but for the most part, I rented a Velib for  everything within the main ring of Paris. Compare that system to Denver, where #1 there is no metro at all, and #2 the bike share program costs $9/day. Who would opt to ride a bike when it’s cheaper to just drive or take the bus? #doingitwrong! I loved these bikes so much that I immediately started researching Dutch step-though style bikes the day we got home (I ended up buying a Linus, by the way).IMG_5735

Day 1: arrival via Eurostar, Montparnasse Cemetery, Luxembourg Gardens, macarons from Gerard Mulot, rosé on the terrasse of Café de la Mairie, a stroll through St. Germain, and dinner at Le Bistrot d’Henri.

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Day 2: coffee around the corner from Daniel and Libby’s, Blé Sucré for the most amazing croissant I’ve ever had in my life, a stroll through the farmers market near the Puces d’Aligre, rosé at Le Baron Rouge, strolling through Le Marais, lunch at L’As du Fallafel, Le Palais Royal, a walk through the grounds of the Louvre, Palace de la Concorde, rosé at Café du Rendez Vous, Catacombs of Paris, and dinner at Le Temps des Cerises.

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Day 3: Arc de Triomphe, stroll all the way down Ave. de Champs-Elysées to Musée d’Orsay, Notre Dame, picnic along the Canal de la Villette, and dinner at Le Bancs Publics.

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Day 4: the Louvre, shopping in St. Germain at Monoprix and City Pharma, picnic dinner back at hotel of baguette, camembert, salami, and wine. First day completely on my own.

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Day 5: Musee de Rodin at the Hôtel Biron, Sainte-Chapelle, Pantheon, stroll down down Rue Mouffetard (the Latin Quarter) with more croissants, stroll around the Pierre and Marie Curie University, more shopping at Monoprix and City Pharma and street crepes for dinner.

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Day 6: The Pompidou Center, shopping at HEMA and other shops in the Le Halles area

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That’s it for Paris, but more (domestic) summer travels to come!