Summer Fridays

This post is coming a week late, but it’s a perfect example of my Friday mantra: comfortable and casual. Last Friday I wore my comfiest pair of black pants from Forever 21. You could do yoga and bike to work in these babies even though they are high waisted and marketed as jeans. My new thing this school year are clothes that trend towards the “athleisure” look. I hate that word, and it reminds me of 20 somethings in makeup wearing Lululemon and spotless Nikes while they shop at Whole Foods for prepared meals (I’m so judge-y, I’m sorry, not sorry). But here we are – I am one of them now. I shop at Athleta, I’m technically wearing a workout shirt here, and I now own more than a few pairs of Nikes. I draw the line at Lululemon though….for now.

jacket: h&m – tank: jcrew – belt: gap – pants: f21 – shoes: nike airmax

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!

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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.

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Last 2 Days

I’m on a shopping ban till June – no shopping of any kind. No new clothes or beauty products, no extras of anything I don’t actaully truly need. It’s going to be tough, but it’s also forcing me to “shop my closet”. It’s a ridiculous phrase, because it feeds into our consumerist addiction of shopping by not shopping – the exact habit I’m trying to break! On the plus side though, I’ve been rediscovering loads of old loves.

I watched this Valentine’s Day make up tutorial the other day by Chrissstttiiine, and it reminded me of how much I drooled over the J.Crew style makeup back in 2010. Bright matte lips and minimal everything else – exactly what I love.  The next day I went rummaging through my lipstick collection (it’s embarassingly superflous) and dug out my old trusty NARS lipstick in Heat Wave. It’s always been a “summer color” for me in the past, but it’s been worryingly hot here in Denver this past week. In fact, we hit the record for the hottest february day ever last Friday at 80˚F. I’ve worn the same lipstick 2 days in a row now – something that almost never happens.

Today, on her way into 5th period, a kid said “Miss, you look like a character out of something today…your lipstick and the stripes…I don’t know, it’s a look”. I’m not sure what that means, but I interpreted it as, “Miss, you look super chic today, like straight out of a French-y scene in a J.Crew catalog!” right?!?

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shirt: uniqlo – jeans: f21 – belt: banana republic – shoes: mia – lipstick: nars heat wave

Yesterday, I dug out all of the old favorites. Everything I wore yesterday has been in my closet for at least 4 years if not more. My old favorite Madewell wool flannel blazer I picked up in DC while shopping with my sister. The oldest pair of Forever 21 jeans I bought back in my first year of teaching (worn 2 days in a row). The first pair of ankle boots I bought back in 2009 when everyone was all about tall riding style boots and I thought I was so hip to wear low ankle booties. The oldest t-shirt I own, so thin it’s almost too risque for school. All to match one of my oldest lipsticks. This is a lot of talk about old stuff. I’m approaching middle age. The next step to to buy a motorcyle (I reeeeeaaaaaaly want one again!) and wear all of my oldest and favorite-st clothes forever. In fact, I wore this same exact outfit back in 2012 on a trip to NYC before we moved there. So old.

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blazer: madewell – tshirt: threads 4 thought – jeans: f21 – belt: gap – boots: nordstrom bp – lipstick: nars heat wave

Last days of Summer

The classic end of summer weekend has come and gone. By now everyone is back in school and anticipating the weather change. Today I overheard a couple girls talking about the imminent return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks. Apparently that means winter is coming. Good thing I managed to check off my last 2 summer time goals this past 3 day weekend. B and I climbed a 14er, and I went fly-fishing!

A 14er is essentially a mountain that is over 14,000 ft, and there are 96 of them in the US. 53 of these 14ers are in Colorado, so summiting them is a bit of a thing here. It seems that just about every Colorado resident has “bagged” at least one 14er. So we climbed the easiest one, Mt. Bierstadt (14,065 ft) this past weekend. Man, breathing is no joke at 12,000 ft and above. I survived though with heaps of breaks on the way up. I think I’ve got the 14er bug, so now I’m chomping at the bit to scale a few more of these peaks. Gray’s and Torrey’s Peak will be next!

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I managed to squeeze in a little shopping trip yesterday before I met up with a friend to go fly-fishing. Picked up this dress from Forever 21, which of course, on me it’s a shirt. I really like these “dresses” because it guarantees that I’ll never have to worry about bending over or squatting down to pick up a pencil in the classroom. I have a super long torso, so even with high-waisted jeans, the danger of an accidental butt crack slip is always a concern. Please ignore the wrinkles, I’m not an iron or steam type of person. Even with wrinkles, this top is neutral, comfortable, and professional looking enough for the classroom.  Winning. Also, these jeans (and a black pair) are the only pants I’ve been wearing lately, because they’re the only ones that fit me right now. Thanks, summer!

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glasses: warby parker – top: f21 – jacket: h&m – jeans: mother denim – shoes: mia

Countdown

I’m on a countdown to summer. I have actually been on this countdown since spring break! After tomorrow, there will only be four Fridays till the last day of school. I have a couple posts still waiting to go up. Last week I took photos and couldn’t find time to post them. I’ve been busy gardening everyday after school. I totally get the whole “gardening is my zen time” thing. Its physical, it’s quiet, and I get to pull things out by the roots (oddly therapeutic). Bonus: pretty flowers like these!

I bought this cardigan a week ago in store and on sale (as always), and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I had this picture from Pinterest in mind and I was hoping I could copy the look with this cardigan.  I think it falls aesthetically short though with its thick fabric and too slouchy shape (too big for me). No compliments from kids so far either. It does make a good classroom sweater though, since it has pockets. What do you guys think?

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sweater: madewell – t-shirt: zara – jeans: mother via anthropologie – shoes: swedish hasbeens – necklaces: f21

Winter is Still Here

This is what I wore today.  It was 80˚F today, and we are forecast to get up to a foot of snow over the weekend. This weather is cray, and my legs haven’t seen the sun in months. At least I got to test out my new sandals this week. B and I were at Target for what I promised to be “just a quick trip for essentials” when I spied a buy one get one 1/2 off sale in the shoe section. Obviously, I had to take a peek. I walked away with these bad boys and B walked away from Target swearing he’d never fall for that trick again.

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sweater: j.crew – dress: f21 – sandals: mossimo/target

Bag Raiders

I can hardly believe I’ve been away from the blog for a whole month! As I sat down to write today, I thought “Gee, it’s been a couple of weeks since my last post!” I guess time really does fly.

8 long short weeks left till final exams and sum-sum-summmer time!

The past month has been busy with B’s birthday, a few concerts, a bout with the flu, a trip back east to see the family for my mom’s birthday, and a girls’ weekend with my BFFs from San Francisco. Teachers really do have lives outside of teaching, I swear. The proof is in Instagram!

As part of B’s birthday week, we went to see one of my favorite Aussie-Indie-Dance bands play. I have fond memories of the Bag Raiders – my first ever teacher partner in crime Ann Zhao introduced me to them mid way through our first year teaching (she named our instant friendship trauma bonding). The Bag Raiders aren’t as well followed here in Denver like they are in SF and NY, so we got to see them at my favorite music venue here in Denver, Larimer Lounge. There is nothing much better than getting to see one of your favorite bands play a small bar. Obviously, I had to buy a t-shirt and obviously, I had to wear said t-shirt the very next day to school.

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glasses: warby parker – tshirt: bag raiders – jeans: f21 – shoes: anthropologie – belt: gap

I can’t resist – aren’t my mom and niece just the cutest? My mom takes care of Jojo while my sister and brother in law work, so naturally Popo (grandma in chinese) is Jojo’s favorite person ever.

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