Friday, August 22, 2014

Work Fashion: Friday!

As I mentioned previously, I'm starting a series of posts on work fashion.  Most of the clothes I am featuring come from the online resale shop, Twice (this is a referral link which will get us both $10 off!).

I made it through Friday of the first week!  Boy am I exhausted!  Last night the kids all woke up at midnight and so I was dragging a bit today.  As such, I opted for my most comfortable shoes and planned my outfit around that!  

This shirt is the only shirt from my previous teaching days that still fits! It's J.Crew and I've had it for nearly 10 years now!  It fits well and washes well.  I bought 3 more of the same style from Twice because I like it so much!  The skirt is from my very first Twice order and was only $14!  I knew that I wanted some basic skirts.  I narrowed my search to just those from Ann Taylor Loft because the fit works well on my frame.  This one is a brown wool tweed.  I also got another one in a similar style in black.  

Please excuse the weird angle and facial expression - I was telling John to hurry so I could get out the door on time!

Happy Friday, everyone!

P.S.  I highly suggest that everyone catch an insect and observe it!  We did that today in my 8th grade science class and it was fascinating!  

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Work Fashion: First Class Day!

As I mentioned previously, I'm starting a series of posts on work fashion.  Most of the clothes I am featuring come from the online resale shop, Twice (this is a referral link which will get us both $10 off!).

Today was my first day actually having classes with students!  Yesterday, everyone was in the building, but it was general orientation, so I didn't interact much with students.  But today was a regular class day!  We had the usual 55-minute periods.  I teach 9th grade girls math during first period and 8th grade boys science during 2nd period.  Overall, my classes went very smoothly!  Just two hiccups during the day - first, I found out 5 minutes before morning prayer that one student did not have a math book and that I needed to copy the whole first chapter for her!  I managed to get it copied and only be a tiny bit late to prayer!  Second, I accidentally called myself by my maiden name once!  But I corrected it so quickly that I don't think the guys noticed.  

Today's dress is a black shirt dress from Ann Taylor.  It's a size bigger than I normally wear, but the belt keeps it looking fitted.  Although it's dry clean only, it redeems itself by having very large pockets!  It was a Twice find for $25.  

Speaking of Twice, I was totally bummed to learn yesterday that they are no longer doing free returns!  Returns are now $5 unless you are willing to get your refund in store credit.  Booo :(  

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Work Fashion: First Day!

As I mentioned previously, I'm starting a series of posts on work fashion.  Most of the clothes I am featuring come from the online resale shop, Twice (this is a referral link which will get us both $10 off!).

Today is the first day for students!  It's simply an orientation day, so I won't actually have my classes, but there are kiddos in the building!  I'm excited and nervous and totally overwhelmed.  I've never been good at handling change and a new school after 2 years off is a whole lot of change!

So what am I wearing today... A red dress from Banana Republic that I scored on Twice for $19.  It's perfect for this hot day in a building with no air conditioning!  I also love this dress because it is machine washable.  I didn't realize at when I first started shopping there, but Twice tells you the care instructions.  Initially I got a few things that were dry clean only (which means I will never clean them!), but now look for only machine washable things.

I love this picture because you can see Blaise sprinting in to give me a hug :-)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Life Verses

Have you read the story of Ben Sauer?  He is a little boy who was diagnosed with a very aggressive brain tumor.  I started following his mom's blog after his diagnosis, but before his death.  Her perspective and faith through it all has been such an inspiration.  Her most recent post talked about life verses - Bible verses that we have committed to memory that we can turn to in times of need.  Verses that are specific to us and to our walk with God.  Today I'll share with you 7 quick takes of my life verses.

1.  As I thought about my life verses, I tried to recall the earliest verse that I had personally chosen to commit to memory.  There were quite a few that we memorized for Sunday school or youth group, but those don't necessarily hold particular meaning for me.  The one that does is:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.  ~Proverbs 3:5-6
I remember memorizing this one while at Ligonier camp.  I've mentioned before the importance of Ligonier to my faith formation and I think this verse from Proverbs captured what I realized at Ligonier - that I am not in control, that God is in control, and that surrendering to Him is the way to live.

2. and 3.  There are two more verses from Ligonier that I have committed to memory through song.
So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord.  His going forth is as certain as the dawn.  And He will come, He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth.  ~Hosea 6:3
Create in me a clean heart, O God.  And renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from thy presence, O Lord.  Take not thy holy spirit from me.  Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation.  And renew a right spirit within me.  ~Psalm 51:10-12
Both of these have beautiful acoustic guitar melodies that play in my head as I sing them.   I love to sing them over and over again and let my mind drain and just focus on being in the presence of God.

4. and 5.  As a science-minded, logical, concrete person, the concept of faith has always been something I have wrestled with.  I constantly turn to Hebrews to remind myself.  The passage I love begins:
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen ~Hebrews 11:1
Then the author continues with what is often referred to as the "hall of faith".  It's a listing of many many figures from the old testament and examples of their faith.  After listing these, the author summarizes what this all means for us:
Therefor since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  ~Hebrews 12:1-2

6. and 7.  I grew up in a mainline protestant church which taught the ideas of "once saved, always saved" and that we are saved by faith alone.  As I've gotten older, I've wrestled with the concepts because of the inequality I see in the world and the prosperous people I see who are doing very little to advance the work of God.  These next two verses are ones that remind me that true faith is made manifest through actions.
Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by actions, is dead.  ~James 2:17
Although this is the portion I have memorized, it is important to read it in context.  In the surrounding verses, James explains how our faith is seen through our actions.  And that faith without actions is what the demons have, even they believe in the existence of God!

Jesus tells a parable that I love that captures the same idea - the parable of the sheep and the goats from Matthew 25.  I've blogged about this one before.  The segment I have committed to memory is this:
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ ~Matthew 25:40

Main Image

I'd love it if you'd share your life verse(s) with me in the comments!  

Also, if you click the photo above, it takes you to a site where other's have shared their own life verses.  (I'm not affiliated with that site in any way and cannot vouch for other aspects of the webpage, I just appreciated the collection of life verses from others.)

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Two perfect summer meals!

I haven't done a meal plan post in quite some time, and I don't actually know if I will continue with those now that I am heading back to work, but we recently had some very yummy means, so I thought it would be fun to share some ideas!

In the summer we love to grill out for friends.  John makes some great varieties of burgers, but we were having friends over who were gluten free.  We thought chicken, but I wanted to fancy it up a bit, so I made shish kabobs!  I simply cut up peppers, onions, and chicken and fed them onto skewers with some tomatoes from our garden!  John grilled them and added a bit of BBQ sauce at the very end.  I love the flavor combination and how beautiful they look!

We had some leftovers from this meal and wanted to think of something interesting to do with them.  Why not tortillas?!  


We shredded the leftover chicken, onions, and peppers and also some cheddar cheese.  John made the tortillas from scratch, but you could buy those pre-made.  John made the salsa primarily from items in our garden.  The trick to salsa is to let is sit for a few hours in the fridge to let the flavors mesh.  John didn't use a set recipe, but here are the ingredients that he used:
  • Black beans (dried, soaked overnight, and cooked for 2 hours, then drained and cooled.  You could also simply use canned black beans, although the flavor and texture isn't quite the same)
  • Corn (we used fresh from cooked corn on the cob, but you could use canned or frozen)
  • Chopped tomatoes (we used cherry but any variety would work)
  • Chopped jalapeno peppers (the seeds are the spiciest part so leave in for hot or take out for mild)
  • Chopped onion
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Chopped basil
  • Fresh squeezed lime juice

Mix well, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Work Fashion: Bright shorts

As I mentioned last week, I'm starting a series of posts on work fashion.  Most of the clothes I am featuring come from the online resale shop, Twice (this is a referral link which will get us both $10 off!).

Today is a full day of meetings and the school I work at does not have air conditioning.  It was 55 degrees when I left the house, but the high today will be 80.  As such, I needed an outfit with some flexibility.  I love scarves for just such occasions.  Plus they help to make outfits look more pulled together.  For more examples, see my post on mom fashion.

The shorts look somewhat pink in this picture, but they are actually a really fun bright orange color.  I was initially concerned they were too bright, but a friend of mine with great fashion sense said that they looked awesome and were very "J.Crew".  Which is fitting, since they are J.Crew :)

These were a Twice find for only $13!  They retail for over $100 and I'm fairly certain these were never worn - the pockets were still tacked shut and the quality control sticker was still inside!

I'm also loving the pairing of flats with shorts.  I typically wear sandals in the summertime, but have wanted to look a little dressier at work.  I got these flats at Target a few years back and their pewter/metallic color makes them match with nearly everything.  I've also been impressed by how comfortable they have remained and how well they have held up over time, especially for $20 shoes!

Thanks for stopping by.  Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Work Fashion: Casual colored tee

As I mentioned last week, I'm starting a series of posts on work fashion.  Most of the clothes I am featuring come from the online resale shop, Twice (this is a referral link which will get us both $10 off!).

Today is a very laid back day at work for me, so it's hard to even classify this as work fashion, but I am at work and I am wearing it, so it counts!  I love the super soft cotton tees from Ann Taylor Loft.  They are almost always on clearance at the end of the season for between $4 and $10.  But I just haven't had time to go out shopping this year, so I turned to Twice.  The cheapest tees they have are $10, but I happened to have a 25% off coupon, so it was only $7.50.
Ann Taylor Loft tees come in a variety of fabrics, so make sure that you are getting what you think you are getting!  Twice gives you that info, so it's easy to pick your faves.  I have a few different fabrics in my closet, but prefer the 100% cotton ones, so I limited my purchases to those.  This may be my new favorite shirt because it is a fun color and so light weight and comfy!  

And of course you should always pair your tee with a snow-boot-wearing toddler!  

Monday, August 11, 2014

Work Fashion: Khaki Shorts

As I mentioned last week, I'm starting a series of posts on work fashion.  Most of the clothes I am featuring come from the online resale shop, Twice (this is a referral link which will get us both $10 off!).

Today is a free work day at my school, so I could be relatively casual.  I opted for khaki shorts and a pink polo.  Please excuse the poor quality photo - it was a rainy day so the lighting is poor and clearly I need a major cleaning of my mirror!

Khaki shorts are one of those elusive items that I have been needing for years.  Last year I found a cute pair at Ann Taylor Loft, but I don't know if I hadn't eaten anything that day or if I shrunk them in the wash, but they never actually fit again after I bought them!

I got this pair at Twice for only $11!  They are Banana Republic, which is a brand I have never tried before.  I appreciate that Twice gives you the measurements of each item so that you have a good sense of whether or not an item will fit.  These are actually a size larger than I wear in other brands, but the measurements match shorts that I already owned and knew fit.  Using the measurements is also helpful even if you are already familiar with a brand because you never know how the first owner treated them - maybe they washed them in hot water or had the waist taken in.

Alright, I should probably wrap this post up since I'm doing it on my lunch break!  I'll be back later this week with some of my casual more finds.  Stay tuned for real work fashion near the end of next week when the students are here!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Work Fashion

I'm headed back to work this year after a 2-year hiatus from classroom teaching.*  My last teaching job was during my continually pregnant years and it was more casual, so I haven't worn most of my dress clothes since 2008!  Needless to say after 6 years and 3 babies only 1 shirt still fit!  Everything else was too tight or not the right length (my hips seem to have descended at least 3 inches!)  So it was time to go shopping!**

I headed to the mall after seeing a dress I loved in the Lands End catalog.  I loved it just as much in person, but the $80 price tag was hard to swallow.  Luckily it was on sale, so at $60, I decided to go for it.  I headed next to Ann Taylor to scour the clearance rack and found a classic white button down in a super soft fabric and great feminine collar for $30.  Sold.  But I'd spent almost one hundred dollars and only had 1.5 outfits to show for it!

Next I tried a consignment shop that had been recommended - Clothes Mentor.  But that place made my head spin!  WAY too many options all crammed together on the rack!

So I turned to online consignment shopping.  I had tried ThredUp in the past for the kids, but I wasn't too pleased with my items and because they charge for returns, I just kept the items.  This time I decided to go for Twice (this is a referral link and will get us both $10 off!).  I initially tried them because they offer free returns.  I have continued to use them because of the quality of the clothes at such reasonable prices.

Over the course of the summer, I've continued to purchase from Twice and have now built up a 2-week work wardrobe and some extra casual pieces for a fraction of what it would have cost me elsewhere!  Over the next few weeks, I'll be photographing myself in the morning and sharing my finds with you!

Today is my first day of work, just a short meeting with my mentor teacher.  I'm wearing J.Crew chino shorts, which retail for over $100, but I got for $19.  The shirt, shoes, and accessories I already owned.  Here's to a great first day!***

* Linking up with Cari for Theme Thursday: PANIC because going back to teaching teenagers after being home with toddlers for two years is terrifying!

**Also linking because I assure you that I panicked big time when I realized that I had a job, but NOTHING TO WEAR!

*** And more panicking today when I realized that my BRAND NEW computer was (and is still) refusing to connect to the internet!  


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Twice, the poor man's Stitch Fix

Some of the bloggers I read do posts about Stitch Fix.  If you haven't heard of it, it is a personal shopping site where for $20 a stylist sends you 5 pieces of clothing and accessories based on a style profile that you fill out.  If you buy something, that $20 counts toward your purchase.  If you buy all 5 pieces, you get a 25% discount.  If you buy nothing, you're out the $20.  Sounds like fun.  Also sounds like a lot of money - the average price of their items is $55.  Haley @ Carrots for Michaelmas did a good post recently about whether or not Stitch Fix is for you.  She also has a bunch of cute posts showing the contents of her boxes.

My main reason for not trying Stitch Fix is the cost. Even if they sent me something I loved, it's just cost prohibitive on our budget.  But that is why I love Twice.  I get the fancy name brand clothes I love at a fraction of the cost.  And if you use Twice like I do, it can be just like Stitch Fix.  The trick for me is to buy a variety of clothes and just assume that I will be making a (free!) return.  Plus, you get free shipping if your order is over $50, so I always make sure my order is over $50.  I start with things I know I love, like button down shirts from J.Crew and and skirts from Ann Taylor Loft.  Then I add things from places I've never tried, but always wanted to - like Anthropology and Calvin Klein.

And sometimes I end up with awesome.  Like my new favorite dress, from Anthropology for $25!

If you want to try Twice, use my link and we'll both get $10 off!  Be bold and see what you find!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Quick Takes #18

1. Did you realize that my last "Quick Takes" was back in April?! Wow, I've been out of this blogging business for too long! I think that shall all change as I recently got a laptop! I no longer need to use John's giant laptop which totally doesn't fit on my lap OR the 10 year old laptop that can only do one thing at a time and only if it's super simple OR the waste of money tablet that constantly restarts! I also got a pretty laptop bag :-)


2. The laptop is mainly because I am going back to teaching in the fall. I'll be at a small private school teaching 8th grade science to a class of all boys and 9th grade math to a class of all girls. It will be my first time in a split gender school (although once I did inadvertently have a class of all boys) and my first time teaching below the high school level. I'm looking forward to the challenges, but am a bit nervous simply because of all the unknowns. I start next week, so I won't have to wonder about the unknowns for much longer!

3.  So what have we been up to all summer?  We started the summer with my cousin's wedding.  It was in Chicago, so just a day trip for us.  Upon return from the wedding, my parents stopped by our house to take Blaise back with them to Pittsburgh for a few days alone with the Grandparents!  The rest of us joined them soon after.  John went to a conference and the kids and I had fun with Grandpa, Grandma, and Uncle Erik.

4.  We went on our first camping trip as a family this summer, for one night to a campground just south of us.  We loved the short drive, the nature center, and the warm man-made lake.  We disliked the RV's and electricity all around us!  It was a good learning experience and we're hoping to squeeze in one last camping trip and a more primitive location before the weather turns cold.


5.  In July, we took our big summer vacation to Chincoteague, VA.  It was a family reunion with my mom's side of the family.  The 12 hour drive was painful because we went through the night and Lucy spent most of the time crying.  Thankfully we had my Aunt in the car with us to help manage the chaos!  The 5 days at the beach were full of adventure.  We went swimming and hiking, climbed up a lighthouse and played in the sand on both the ocean and cove side.  The kids preferred the cove which they called the "little waves".

6.  In the midst of our travels, John has been busy working two jobs this summer at Notre Dame as well as working on the many house projects we wanted to tackle!  While our list of projects didn't get completely done, we do now have an over-the-range microwave, a beadboard backsplash, new shelves, a freshly painted kitchen and board and batten in the mud room!  We're still hoping to paint the living room and have a half-bath installed in our basement.



7.  Also this summer, Blaise took a 6-week dance class.  He LOVED it.  Definitely one of his favorite things ever.

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