Don’t be a jerk

*jazz hands* New classroom!! *jazz hands*

Today was day three of seven “school launch” days for staff at my new high school here in Denver.  It’s been meeting after meeting, training, team building activities and orientation.  I barely had time to snap some photos in my new classroom.  I still have to find the optimal place with the best non-yellow lighting in the classroom, but as you can see, my new room is really stinkin nice.  Talk about an awesome science classroom – there is a dedicated instruction section and separate lab benches in the back.  It’s the nicest classroom I’ve ever seen AND, the students get ROCKING CHAIRS.  That’s right, rocking chairs. training day4Today’s training was on classroom management, aka 100% engagement (buzz word alert).  It was actually a nice refresher on methods I’d forgotten about such as various non-verbal cues, anonymous whole class corrections and private corrections.  It made me think about my classroom management style, which has evolved into a very stern, strict, I’m-not-playing-around-so-you-better-check-yourself type of management that some students find a bit rough around the edges and if I’m honest with myself, a bit jerky.  I don’t usually loosen up until second semester when the kids know the routine and know not to test me anymore (for the most part).  So my focus this year in terms of classroom management is, don’t be a jerk.  I need to breathe more, control my frustrations, stay calm, and utilize private corrections more.  One of the first things I taped up on my wall by my desk is my post card of a Barbara Kruger piece, “Don’t be a jerk”.  I love that little postcard – I picked it up at the Hirshhorn in Washington DC in 2012 and it’s been a classroom staple of mine.  This year, it has new meaning.  I used to point to it occasionally when kids were mean to each other, but this year, it’s for me.

Don't Be A Jerk

On the clothing end, it’s really nothing exciting.  I’m still on a basics kick and I’m in love with my summer sandals: the oh so trendy right now Birkenstocks.  B calls them “Jesus Sandals” or “big black boats” and I can’t really disagree with him.  I just got so obsessed with how cute I found then all of a sudden (just last summer I called them the ugliest things ever) when they started popping up all over my Feedly feed of fashion bloggers.  I’ve also retired my trusty Freitag bag for a while.  The plastic smell never really dissipates, and I was getting pretty tired of it.  So I dug out the old J.Crew purse from my SF teaching days.  Still holding up ok for now.  I do have my eye on the also uber trendy Fjallraven Kanken backpack though.  I’m such a sucker for hipster trends.  Sigh.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

glasses: warby parker beckett – cardigan and bag: super old j.crew – t-shirt: madewell – jeans: j brand via nordstrom rack – shoes: birkenstock

Bag Lady/Man

Every teacher is a bag lady/man to some degree. We manage to schlep large quantities of paper, supplies and knick-knacks to and from school regardless of the day. I’ve carried papers home to grade, only to carry it right back to school untouched. Even so, I consider myself a light packer, based purely on the number of bags I bring everyday – one. Here are my bag residents, the stuff that lives permanently in my teacher bag – a little teacher voyeurism.
bagging it

1) beanie – for those really frigid Brooklyn mornings 2) phone – with a card case that carries my ID, credit card and metrocard 3) small pouch for small things like lip balms 4) lipstick of the day 5) sunscreen, for field trip days outside 6) non-scented hand lotion 7) tokyo milk roller ball perfume – for the days when I need an olfactory pick-me-up 8) mirror – to check for boogers and lipstick smears 9) oil blotting sheets – I’m an oil slick by the end of the school day 10) smelly floral hand cream – gives a little zing to my keyboard action 11) various lipshit with color – I need to have a selection at all times 12) gum – so I don’t dragon fire my coffee breath all over the kids 13) headphones 14) first aid kit and tissues – for when “I have a hangnail, I can’t write, so I can’t do my work” complaints 15) baggu bag (llamas!!) – for packing in the groceries needed for the day’s culinary class 16) book of the moment for zoning out on the commute 17) pens/pencils – obviously 18) wallet – for everything else that doesn’t go in my phone case 19) glasses cleaning cloth – that oil slick inevitably ends up all over my glasses 20) sunglasses – unused for the past month or so

bagging it2All this crap and more fits into my daily carry for the past 1.5 years, my Freitag tote bag.  On top of all this, I throw in my lunch for the day, about 32 ounces of coffee in 2 thermoses and a scarf/puffy coat if it’s cold out.

That’s all folks.  Interesting?  meh?  Did you lose a few brain cells looking at another “what’s in my bag” type post?

put a bird on it

I’ve been away for these past couple weeks.  There was camping, a college tour trip with my crew to upstate NY, and just plain ole’ lack of motivation.  It’s the end of a trying week, so this morning i figured I’d just put a bird on it and be done with it.

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cardigan and tights: h&m – dress: hi there by karen walker (old, from perth) – boots: steven – bag: freitag – necklace: unicorn crafts

Weekends as a Xiao Yi

Xiao Yi means “little aunt” in Mandarin, and that’s what I am when I’m down in DC.  I try to make the trek down there at least once a month to see my little niece Jojo.  One day she will start calling me xiao yi and I want to be there  so she can put a face to a name.  She only 7 months old right now though, so I guess I’ve got some time.

I hopped on the bus for the 4 hour trip down to DC friday night and met up with this guy.  My old Viking friend Aurora also lives in DC so I took the opportunity to meet up with her and her little man Macaroni for a drink.

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Saturday, My sister Kris and I hopped aboard her friend’s boat in Annapolis for a sail around the Chesapeake Bay.  I spent my high school years on the San Francisco Bay sailing with the Sea Scouts, and it feels fantastic to be out on the water.  I’ll take any and all invitations for sailing.  I spent a lot of the day on the boat thinking about how different my life would have been if I had joined the Coasties out of high school or if I had gone to Cal Maritime Academy instead of pursuing biology and teaching.

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Sunday was brunch day and auntie time with Jojo.  My sister picked the place and her friend Sean joined us.  We rounded out the afternoon with oyster shooters before dropping me off to hop on the bus for the ride back to Brooklyn.
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Sean helped me snap a photo of my new Zara sweater dress.  This dress is a bit out of my comfort zone with it’s clinginess, but it’s a weekend and it’s comfortable but edgy-ish all at the same time.   I’m digging Zara lately with the simple lines and colors in their fall line up.   Not too jazzed about the glitter in the fabric, but I guess you can’t win ’em all.

sunnies: knockaround – dress: zara – bag: freitag – shoes: madewell, borrowed from kris


Sadly, my spring break is coming to an end.  It’s been a sweet week and a half.  I took a trip to visit Jojo, my good friend Aimee came out to visit, and B and I enjoyed a day-long stay-cation.  He took off work today and we went exploring in Manhattan.  We started at the very southern tip and wound our way north to Central Park, then headed back down south stopping at my favorite basics shop Uniqlo on the way.  I got B to buy some new pants in a snazzy preppy stripe.  He’ll probably never wear them unless I force him to – which will be often!  Today was all about warmth and comfort.  Spring has sprung, but it was still super windy and cold today.  Perfect for my new favorite sweatshirt from the men’s section of H&M- I’m all about men’s clothing lately.

I particularly loved all the memorials down in the south end, especially the Merchant Marines Memorial.  I also found a Schenck on the WWII memorial, an electrician from Kansas.





sunnies: ray-ban – scarf: topshop – sweatshirt: h&m – jeans: f21 – socks: uo – sneaks: converse – bag: frietag

Hey, Miss! What can I do to raise my grade?

“So..Miss? What can I do to raise my grade?”
“Ummm….you can do your work for once because right now it’s too little too late buddy, you’re shit out of luck let’s see what you are missing and hopefully you can complete it by the end of today, which is when I have to turn in grades.”

It never fails: on the day grades are due, a full 3 days since my deadline for turning in late work, I always get some kid who tries to complete all their missing work in one fell swoop. It’s not going to happen buddy. What is going to happen now is bi-weekly progress reports.

This is me leaving school late in the evening, but not even close to being the last one out– head cut off because no one is ever cute after such a long day with teenagers.

necklace: unicorn crafts – scarf: who knows anymore, it’s hella old and actually pretty boring – dress: old madewell that is finally on sale (never mind, they’re sold out) – cardigan: j.crew – coats (that’s right, I’m wearing 2 now since it’s so cold): marmot and h&m (old)- tights and hidden heat tech shorts underneath: uniqlo – boots: boutique 9 – same old same old bag: freitag

this is my basics jam

My style sensibilities have been changing…and it’s veering closer and closer to a uniform of purely neutral basics.  It’s like I’m heading back to white rice territory, after years of trying to make the most interesting and complexly flavored fried rice out there.  I’m cutting out the fluff and I’m crawling back into my comfort zone, the safety of neutral colors in classic cuts and fits.  It makes getting dressed much easier, faster and stress free.  You can never be too over dressed or underdressed with basics, otherwise the point of having basics would be defeated. Right?   On this note, I just got back from shopping for basics at the most basic of stores with zero creeper hipster appeal, Uniqlo.  The moment I walked in to the store today, I was thinking, yeah, this is my JAM!!  I had just left Zara, which assaulted me in all its trendiness with everything black/army green/oxblood and covered in studs/mean animal faces/leather sleeves.  Uniqlo with its stacks of logo-less, glitter-less, graphic-less, simply cut clothes was refreshing and welcoming.  This is what I picked up today, all of course at teacher-friendly prices.  For more of a basics guide, check out this post by refinery29, where they pick apart the basic basics, through the ages.  Technically, I fall into the 30’s category, but can barely afford the 20’s category.  Big poo.


Boring?  Or classic?  Either way, these items came home with me because they went perfectly well with what I wore out shopping today.  My everyday basic outfit, jeans and a tshirt, with my going-to-be-with-me-for-the-next-10-years-just-like-my-other-one-was Freitag bag.  The boots come and go, get swapped out with black flats, flip flops or converse, and some days lipstick gets thrown in the mix too.  For the most part though, this is it: my everyday basic outfit.

glasses: warby parker – t-shirt: alternative apparel – belt: gap – jeans: madewell – boots: ecote via urban outfitters

3 Mile Dim Sum

Today is Halloween.  Some people are crazy about Halloween — I am not one of them.  I haven’t dressed up for it in years, unless you count this as an old man of the sea costume.  Is it really a costume though if it’s your usual look?  Nothing here is new…just the same old stuff out of my closet.

hat and jeans: f21 – jacket and belt: hella old gap – shirt: levis (last seen here) – tank: alternative apparel – bag: freitag – boots: boutique 9 cooper ankle boot

Today is also the third day we’ve been out of school because of Hurricane Sandy.  Now it’s looking like classes will not resume until Monday.  I’m on an extended staycation now.  I’m lucky…others in Manhattan, Jersey and Staten Island are dealing with toxic flood waters and sustained power outages.  With nothing better to do, we walked all the way down to Sunset Park (Brooklyn’s Chinatown) for lunch.  The subways are still down so from Park Slope it was a 58 block walk (3.5 miles).  Dim Sum at Bamboo Garden was mediocre at best.  There are three more large dim sum houses in that area though, so I’ll eventually get around to trying all of them to find my favorite.

Nelson was obliging enough to let me test out my camera settings on him.  Thanks, bud.

Flushing Love

This sweater (on sale now at Urban Outfitters) has “non-utilitarian” pockets, which means I like it that much more.  No picture of the back, but there is a “non-utilitarian” zipper up the back also.  B and my other boyfriends laughed at the uselessness of them, so I had to prove them wrong by sticking my hand in them at least once.  The warm mustard yellow color makes this an automatic favorite sweater, but the scratchy and itchiness of this sweater puts it the “suffer for fashion” category.

sweater: urban outfitters – tank: target – belt: j.crew – jeans: madewell – bag: freitag – boots: boutique 9

Flushing is my favorite place in New York so far.  Amaze-balls asian foods from Taiwanese street stuff to western chinese lamb dishes, to tingly hot spicy everything.  I already think it’s awesome and I haven’t even begun to explore the Korean section.  The hour long train ride out there is worth it without a doubt.

Bonus points: my best friends Sandy and Nelson are in town!

P.S.  Frankenstorm is on its way in.  B, being the survivalist he is, has us well prepared.  NO SCHOOL tomorrow!!!! woot woot!


Sunny came to visit! She brought with her a nice reminder of San Francisco — I swear every overheard conversation this weekend involved SF in some way.  I’m off to spend the week near Fishkill, NY, camping with my crew (homeroom).  24 hours a day for 4 days with ten 14 year olds and no showers.  OMG. 

My stuff– sunnies: ray ban – be the change sucka tshirt: mnkr – belt: gap – skirt: j.crew – bag: freitag – boots: hella old bp