Back to School!

The kids in our district will be returning to school in 2 days. This, and the fact that I received a new top from LOFT in the mail, has me really excited! My semester does not start until next Monday and I have no access to my syllabi, so on my day off I think of doing the only other things I can to prepare for school: Organize last semester’s reading material and my wardrobe!

I am so excited about this new wildflower peplum top! It is currently no longer available, but there are other GORGEOUS tops in the same/similar print. I really wish they would have designed the white wildflower top in petite or XXS, but it’s all good…

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So many people, myself included, are looking for inspiration for teaching wardrobes, and as female teachers I think we get really excited about Pinterest and Instagram posts that have darling outfits put together. They have become novelty to me!

Everyone’s district has different guidelines for a dress-code, and every person has their own style and tastes. In my district I have felt a lot of pressure, especially as a future teacher, to dress as professionally as possible. This means bottoms made of suiting material and dressy tops.

Now, you will find plenty of teachers that wear colored denim, khakis, knit maxi skirts, etc., but I know for myself, I will prefer to begin by building a business casual wardrobe, and relax from there… If I so decide. I do love colored denim and boots! Teaching the older grades will have me in less of a fuss to wear comfortable clothes, because I think I will be down on the ground less. Not completely off the ground, but on it less.

So that is my style aim. My next caveat is my body type. I am tiny. Super tiny on top, normal tiny on bottom. I also have limited access to good stores. But I came across LOFT, and they carry tons of petite styles. Almost every one of their pieces comes in petite!

I was a long time Maurice’s shopper. They used to offer great pieces for the office, but as their company is evolving their sizing has gone up slightly, and I can rarely find not only things that are small enough, but tops that have an appropriate neckline or back. Many of their pieces would still be great for the general office, but as a teacher I need more options. That is where LOFT saves me. So many of their tops fit and have higher necklines.

Now, not all of my tops HAVE to “choke” me, but I just have to be a little more prepared when I do where other necklines.

My favorite type of top to wear, I have noticed, is a sleeveless shell.

 

These tops are so versatile for me. They allow me to wear cardigans with out getting too hot and they can be mixed and matched if you are creative! Easily worn with pants or skirts.

The wildflower and sunflower yellow top will get worn most during the first and last of the school year. I tend to wear lots of orange, brown, and black in October and then begin mixing in other fall colors and eventually winter colors.

The next kind of tops that I have are ones with sleeves.

 

I’m trying to add more of this type of shirt to my wardrobe to get away from wearing cardigans most of the time. I’m excited about the possibilities of the black and white top because there are some great colors that it will pair with! Pink, red, yellow, burnt orange…

Next up, sweaters. First, cardigans.

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Ive got a head start on fall AND colors that are a little out of my comfort zone!

Pullovers also exist, but rarely get purchased! I have two more in mind that I want to get!

And the last category… DRESSES! I VERY rarely wear dresses! But I adore the ones that I have purchased, and They do get worn at least once a year.

SO there you have my LOFT collection so far! I’m so happy that this brand is there for me. Their style can seem kind of strange at first, but as I am getting older I can definitely embrace their simplicity.

Now… That can’t be ALL that I own, of course. It’s definitely a good start, but I have a few pieces from other brands that I still LOVE.

Tops come from Maurice’s, JCP, Buckle, and Forever 21. Dress are Angie, Maurice’s x2, JCP, and Forever 21. Cardigans come from JCP, Maurice’s, Buckle, Charlotte Russe, and Forever 21. Some of them I have had for years.

Let’s talk about dress pants! I buy all of mine from Express. Again, one of the few places that makes them small enough for me. But there are two other MORE important traits about their pants.

  1. Slim leg opening. The columnist barely boots and ankle pant create a slimmer silhouette, and when you are 5’3″ you need that in order to not look short and stumpy!
  2. Tailored and well made. These pants will last if cared for.

Now, it may seem like I am a bit high maintenance when it comes to my clothing, to some. I could definitely be wearing items that are more expensive or less expensive, but these were purchased on sale, and others have been held on to for a long time. I think it also takes time to figure out what works best for you! I invest in Express pants because I know they will flatter and last. I invest in LOFT items because they flatter, are work appropriate, and can be often found on sale at reasonable prices. Don’t ever shop there at normal price, unless it’s something you MUST have and you know it will sell fast. This does happen!

I also will probably not always be able to shop like this, that is why I am trying to build up a wardrobe now. This has also taken all summer! I purchased my first LOFT top in May. I also received a raise in January and my living situation lightened up a lot, so investing in my career has been a rewarding luxury.

One detail about my style, I noticed, is that I do not accessorize much and that is exactly what makes the teacher outfits I see so fun! That is definitely one goal for my wardrobe. In the coming weeks I will not be making many purchases, as I am saving up for a new fitness watch. (I lost my Fitbit!). But here is my brainstorm for my wardrobe:

  1. Tops from Loft (Fall and Outside the Comfort-Zone): Pullover sweaters, basic shells (black, white), cardigans (grey, white, brown)
  2. 3-4 Express dress pants, skinny ankle (hopefully a sale will pop up, they usually do a buy one-get one)
  3. FOOTWEAR: aiming for two pairs black and two pairs brown… undecided on brands
  4. Jewelry: a couple of statement necklaces, a couple that are just nice

If you take a look closely at my wardrobe you can see that there is a good amount of oranges, browns, creams, and blacks. I definitely love to dress up for October, and these colors also work well into November.

I am excited to plan my October outfits. I am hoping to have enough to mix-and-match something unique for every day! So, fall is always on the list as well!

Using each kind of top (shell, cardi, sleeves, etc.) it is easy to diversify your look. I currently do not have many outfits that are fun colors, most of them have a fall look, so building up some other outfits that are outside my comfort-zone has been an exciting challenge!

In the future I hope to share my outfits with you! (And someday I will have a master closet that I hope I can organize and share!)

So how about you? How do you all plan your outfits and wardrobes? What are your favorite places to shop? Do you have a style that you embrace? A style that you try to break away from?

LOFT Love=True Love

I have FINALLY found a store that speaks to my needs. LOFT. While they have appeared to me in the past to be the “Christopher & Banks” of a younger age group…I find myself addicted. (There are some rather amusing articles about the epiphany that is Ann Inc. and Loft) I’m growing up folks! They have great blouses for teachers: higher necklines and forgiving fabrics. They have fun colors and patterns. LOFT creates a boutique look with many of their items and, because we don’t have one in my hometown, I will be one of few that is rocking these amazing pieces. What REALLY sealed the deal, however, are the petite sizes. Folks… I don’t have to worry about my small chest and narrow shoulders anymore!!! Do you have ANY idea how amazing it feels trying on pieces of clothing, one after another, that actually fit?! I mean they really, truly fit me! Yes, I’m small, but I am not a junior anymore!!! I have been forced to shop the Junior section for too long now. Junior styles are way to young. Too many crop tops, low necklines, sheer, just no… it’s too youthful now. As a “young” professional (I’m 27 now, so I’m actually a woman…right?) I need to be able to command respect and LOFT will help me accomplish that!

So here are the pieces I have purchased so far!

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There are a few more that I have my eye on! And a few that have already disappeared… sad face.

I’m not in love with their online return system; they charge $8.00 for shipping. And I’m not sure that their sizing is SUPER reliable so I have to be careful with long sleeves. I personally think the quality is adequate to good, even great in some cases. The fabrics and details are nice. Some prices do not match the quality, as in the case of the green dress above. This dress is fully lined, but made out of t-shirt-type knit. It was originally almost $80.00, going for $74.88 currently. I think it could have went for a little less. Now they DO have amazing sales if you can catch the item you want at the right time, perhaps they have a system that i can figure out, but in the case of this dress I really should have waited to see if I could pay 60 or even 50. I see it pilling in the future and possibly even getting faded. Thankfully I’m the type that doesn’t dry most of my clothes (socks and lounge stuff makes the exception) and I don’t wear dresses too often. The construction won me over, though!

If you are a young professional that has never given LOFT a try, do so. It is worth your time, even if you think you might not like them or if you still end up not liking them. Loft can be a whole lifestyle going from work to casual to play to relax time. I love how easy this store makes things!

 

A Seriously Beautiful and Warm Day.

Of course it was windy… But still so lovely. The farmers’ fields are green!

It was so nice to be able to rush about without a jacket!

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Top: Buckle (long time ago), Pants and Booties: Maurices, Necklace: Apricot Lane, Earrings: American Eagle; both a while back…

Again with the Stevie Nicks stuff! What can I say, this weather brings out the 70’s vibe and it is EVERYWHERE in stores! (HA! A Fleetwood Mac song!)

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I can’t wait to pair these jeggings with a denim shirt! And I AM looking for a different colored tank for under the chiffon top…hmmmm…

I want to talk a little bit about the boots I’m wearing today!

In my search for comfortable, fashionable, professional clothing and footwear… footwear always falls short of expectations for me. And it seems like it’s only me!

Folks…TMI…True Story: I Have Bunions Edition.

This means I can’t wear tiny little shoes. Not every day anyway. As a Paraprofessional/someday teacher, Tom’s have really saved my life. My foot can spread out as wide as it needs. But Tom’s are not great for wanting to look a bit more dressed up. Boots work VERY nicely, but after wearing them most of the school year ’cause Kansas is cold y’all!…eh. Some comfort ballet flats work, for sure… Then comes in the desert boot wedge to just change the whole game! Wedges are great because they are easier on the foot than heels and these styles do not have a drastic heel, about 2 and 3/4 in.

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I’ve been wearing mine for 4 days to test them out and day 1 and 2 were great. Day 3 I taught a 45 minute lesson, went grocery shopping at the end of the day, moved boxes at my aptartment for 30 minutes and with the general walking around my feet were pretty sore.

With that being said I still put them on for a 4th day and will for a 5th and yes my feet hurt, but not so much that I’m limping.

I think that these will make FANTASTIC every-other day shoes. I am also not used to wearing a heel! So I’m hoping part of this is just getting used to it, but I know for the health of my feet that rotating shoes is the best choice.

What I love most about these is the price! Knowing I want several colors and will be buying boots next fall and more Tom’s and flats I could NOT fathom spending $90 on 2 or more pairs. (Gotta have black and brown/neutral folks!) SO I was delighted when I slipped these on my feet at Maurices! For around $40 bucks you can have a VERY similar shoe. These are canvas, but I can imagine that they are very similar in quality/construction otherwise. And I can imagine that they will need replaced sooner than I would like, so I’m happy I found such a good price.

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I have ALWAYS loved Maurice’s shoes. I still have three pairs of these darling pumps from 6 and 8 years ago!

So, teacher friends out there, what are you favorite cute comfy shoes to wear?

Tomorrow is Friday everybody! How ’bout that! Looking for another lovely day, and if you can, make it just a tad less windy for us! 😉

Love is… An Adventure with your Sweetheart

 

imageimageHello friends!

What a weekend I had!

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My Valentine brought me roses before we left for a little weekend getaway. He had been dying to ride the dunes in Oklahoma. He acted as if that was going to be a no-go for me because of “V-Day”, BUT that’s really my kind of thing! Adventure, that is!

It was a blast, the dog had the most fun!, and I managed to get my homework done and take him out for dinner. 😉

So that brings me to the fun I had today!

I’ve been busting my buns prepping lesson plans for the students I am tutoring as part of an internship and I won’t lie, I was everything but graceful. I had to run to Walmart for some things, ran out of time, and realized Inhad left some important things at home!… Just learning about living in the country and working in town! Talk about waiting til the last minute though!

But with my mother’s help I was able to whip up more than enough of the supplies I needed! I had a really successful lesson with my students in the end.

Here’s a little OOTD

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Keeping the vibe fresh and free.

Tops: Buckle (forever ago), Jeggings: American Eagle Outfitters, Shoes: Maurice’s, Tote and necklace: Hobby Lobby

I love this top because it reminds me of a combination of these looks… And Stevie, YOU are the inspiration of my favorite looks!

I try to grab things that remind me of her… Love the gypsy, hippie, free spirit.

My bag was a fun purchase. I realized it’s time to become a tote bag owner… Hello, thirty-one! Hobby Lobby has a great price on these! I love some me positive affirmations. “Best day ever”!

While out and about losing my head I came across half price Velantines Day decorations! (The shopping bags at my feet hehe) I grabbed a good handful for my someday classroom.

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Even with the stress of my college classes, it was a wonderful weekend… Heck, it’s a wonderful life!

Wow… A travel post, OOTD, and shopping haul all-in-one!

 

 

Catching Up

Hey everyone! It’s been a minute, but I’m still here! I’m having a series of days that are just eye-rollable. For example I spent most of the day yesterday catching up on laundry while I cleaned the bathroom and washed dishes. I did SO. MUCH. LAUNDRY.

BUT I’ve gotten some awesome things done around here, not that it’s ready to be photographed for Better Homes and Gardens #crylaughemoji

I thought I’d share a few pictures from my regular life because I have been too busy to pause to write and photograph thoughtfully.

I really have just been busy doing chores, unpacking and cleaning, and most importantly beginning my new internships for teaching! (I’m not a student teacher yet, these are what you do before then.) Staying on top of my homework while working 40 hrs is important especially with internships.

I got myself a few new tops. The main reason for this was because I wanted shirts with higher necklines so I wouldn’t have to worry about bending over. I have also purged my wardrobe of the things I found were not fitting my lifestyle/job/comfort anymore because it’s good for me and because of sharing a closet with Michael and decided to be a free spirited hippie type this spring. (Again, none of these will be very good pictures…)

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The students were allowed to celebrate the Super Bowl with team colored cupcakes… So I had the choice of dark blue or black… I got black and looked like Tia Dalma for the rest of the day.

The house has been quite the mess, but yesterday my honey checked off the list! His family helped us hang up three major pieces of wall art! Now I get to obsess over things as I can start putting them into place better.

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Gotta love Snoopy, passed out on the couch. I know, it’s overwhelming!

Here it is currently.

Chalkboard and GATHER is UP! I want to get some metal chairs, console table, white curtains (the tie-up kind) and MAYBE a rug… It’s so easy to clean the way it is so I’m not sure.

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A cute decorative spot on the kitchen counter. I’d like to find a picture for behind it, then to the right will be a metal basket for coffee, the Keurig, and mug tree.

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“My Office” ha… It’s a mess in here, but it’s happy! And I’m thankful I have a space to study. At least that area is being managed.

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I spruce it up best I can.

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Got one window covered! The bedroom window, weeee! It was yellow before! Made the room a strange green color hehe.

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The living room in not quite this clean right now, but lets revel in this moment! I can’t wait to find a substitution for that footstool. I’ll be putting up curtains and I haven’t decided on shelves or wall art. We need a place for the play station and shelves could make that possible, PLUS they would be fun to decorate for the holidays.

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My MAGNIFICENT mirror!

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The last picture shows the old headboard under the mirror. I want to put a console table so oddly enough this gives me an idea! I cant let it be too deep, this is 8 inches. I was planning on ten, but I think 8 will be better. There is enough space to put candles and pictures and a skinny tray and figures.

The blue rooms will be painted someday, if I haven’t mentioned so before… It will be the hardest thing to get Michael to change.. Well the lighting in the kitchen and bathroom too…SOMEday!

I still have such a long ways to go to get the things I have settled and finish cleaning out my apartment before I can get too excited about big furniture purchases. So I dream out loud A LOT!

Here are some pieces I want to get from the antique store.

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Bucket for blankets in the living room!

And some living room inspiration. I have NO idea what to put above the couch!

 

And some inspiration. Color splash! I’m seeing aqua pop up in the bathroom and kitchen.

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Things I’m loving:

  1. This darling bench… I’m needing something for the mud room to sit on and put shoes/boots under.

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2. This sweet little girlie 🙂 This is my dog Pippi and she looked so cute sitting in the middle of the back seat of Michael’s truck.

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3. And Moscow Mules! How did I NOT know about these!!! Ginger beer has always been may favorite. I’m going to have to find some copper mugs now! Decorative AND functional!

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I’m REALLY hoping to get a Valentine’s Day craft done in the next couple of days, so I will definitely share that with you all!

 

Getting Ready for College

It’s that time again! We are forced to buy some more school supplies… We’re talking books, a new printer, some clothes if necessary… those things that make you cringe to buy at first… At one point I desperately needed new work pants.

This semester I don’t have to buy a single textbook!!! HELLO open educational resources! I decided to spoil myself with a fancy planner!

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Look, it was even on clearance!

In the teacher world everyone is head over heels for Erin Condren’s teacher planners. With Hobby Lobby offering  The Happy Planner I had to grab it. It is similar in style, as in it is fun and offers super customization, but slightly more affordable… maybe?! I suppose you can spend as much as you like on them. What sold it for me is that it’s right in front of me! I don’t have to buy it online, I know what I’m getting. I can see if I like it before buying Erin Condren someday…

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I started out with the extra pocket folder add-ons, sticky notes, and two packs of stickers.

After going through it last night I can already tell I’m going to struggle with it. I was always that kid that had stickers, but never used them for a couple of reasons: 1. Once you used them they are gone and 2. Whatever you stick them on is also a commitment, you have to go with the look you are creating.

This will be a huge exercise for me in opening up my creativity. Most of you don’t know me, a few do, but I consider myself to be very creative, but I always have had biases, mental blocks, and other reasons for not stretching my skills. This will be a fun creative activity to start that will also help me keep on track with day-to-day tasks. Exercise my ability to let go and be creative!

There are some AMAZING examples on me & my BIG ideas website/blog!

Here are some of my first creations.

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A few things I have learned after sitting down with my planner:

  1. I think I will like having homework due for the week listed in the notes to the side. I haven’t yet decided how I will handle grocery lists and budget lists. I may utilize the pockets for these or use a strip of washi to tape it to the inside cover as I could go through a ton of shopping lists in a month. We will see! The pockets are proving useful for toting around extra stickers, but I’d like them to be a little more useful than that, even.
  2. Don’t get too carried away with yourself! There are endless colors of washi and stickers… If you are stuck in a rut, slow down and take time to appreciate the current month and week.
  3. BUT do plan ahead. Eventually you won’t have time to sit down and decorate every evening. You will want to do other hobbies! So do plan ahead with the decorating!

Teenage Ashley would be in HEAVEN right now if she found out that someday she was gifted a super cool planner! I had SO much fun using pink as a theme for February. I cant wait for other holidays. I will definitely be watching Hobby Lobby scrap-booking sales before diving any deeper with this. My pages are pretty blank right now, but as school starts and my work responsibilities increase I’m sure my planning will too. I was hesitant to put any of the quote stickers in for fear of covering up a time I might need, but i think i have chosen days where there will be little activity to note. Sundays are my days off, Monday will be for observations and other school things, so I think I have enough room on those days to “pencil it in” if I need to.

The excessive scrap-booking will probably eventually have to stop. I see myself being too busy as a teacher, but you never know! You just have to love the process.

What activities do you do to engage yourself creatively? Coloring books? Scrap-booking? Painting?

I’ve got BIG ideas of my own for his year… remember my resolutions? There’s something I’ve been dying to do for so long that I am FINALLY dipping my toes in! Time to rip-off that band-aid and DO WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY! 😀

I will be blogging as soon as they arrive. Hurry UP FEDEX!