Winter 2015-2016 Obsession: LuLaRoe

I have been remiss in my blogging, readers. I certainly hope you can forgive me, as a new grade level and new school district are certainly eating up a large chunk of my time. Luckily the blog bug is biting and I’ve got a new obsession to share with you.  Enter LuLaRoe. 

LuLaRoe is a MLM (I know…) company that sells leggings and other comfy clothes through a “consultant.”  While MLM is definitely not my thing, I love me some Scentsy and Mary Kay. Add to that my newfound addiction and I’m more than happy to sink my shopping money into a “pop up” boutique.  

While LuLaRoe sells more than just leggings, I have found that the other items could probably be purchased elsewhere for much cheaper. (No way am I paying $35 for an oversized t-shirt or tunic). The leggings, however, are worth every bit of $25 that most consultants charge. 

Think about the worst part of leggings. Having to constantly pull them up all day long?  Not with LLR!  Ass hanging out in see-through fabric?  Nope. Itchy and fabric that makes you sweaty?  Uh-uh. Leggings that lose their shape throughout the day?  Forget about it!  

If you want more patterns and information, definitely check out Instagram. Read the reviews. Venture out to a consultants pop up boutique and see for yourself. You certainly won’t be disappointed. 

My current patterns:   

Have you tried LLR?  What are your favorite patterns?  Stay tuned for more posts on how I style my LuLaRoe for work and play!



Decorating a New Room on a Budget

I finally got to see my new classroom, and to be completely honest, I was less than pleased.  

 No windows. A very unattractive shade of yellow which also happens to be the same shade as Purdue University (rival college).  Compared to my previous classroom, where I had clean and sterile tile, a beautiful view of our green field, and a sink, this room felt like a claustrophobic ugly step child.  It was a let down. At first.

I went home and instantly reached out to my teacher community on Instagram.  

 Through them and the miracle that is Pinterest, I came across several amazing bee-themed classrooms. 

 Many were pretty primary, but overall I had a theme and a vision. I knew from there that I could easily adapt these decorations to a middle school classroom. 

The Fabric

After visiting both Hobby Lobby and Joann Fabrics, I was able to get some beautiful and creative fabric for my bulletin boards, as well as scraps and ribbon to create a wreath for my door.  


I also picked up a few other things, including picture frames, scrapbook paper, and some wooden “paintables.” 

The wreath 

I bought a styrofoam wreath from Joann’s (these can be found anywhere) and picked up a variety of ribbons. I also scoured the fabric scrap section and found some gray, yellows (with bees!), and black patterns.  

I was going for a shabby chic look based off this Pinterest pin.  


I cut and ripped the fabric into strips to achieve a shabby look.  

 Then I cut the ribbons into similar-sized strips and tossed it all together like a salad.  

 From there I began randomly tying and knotting strips onto the styrofoam.  

 I kept pushing all the pieces together so they looked super shabby and there wasn’t any styrofoam showing through.  


I also found these little paper coasters on sale for $0.96 for six. I picked up six packs along with these medallion wall mounts for 30% off $9.99. 

The picture frames 

Once I finished the wreath, I used my scrapbooking supplies and trimmed down the colored paper to be 4×6 and 5×7 sized. I then put them into the picture frames that I had bought from Joann’s. The paper was 10 pieces for $2 and the frames were 50% off each!  


  The picture frames hang out on top of my filing cabinet. You can see that I attempted to print onto one of the yellow papers, but ran out of ink. Luckily this ended up looking okay as the paper and faded ink give the print a vintage/aged look. Look for a tutorial on this Queen Bee printed creation later!

The extras

Lastly, I wanted to include my last name, which begins with a B, into the mix. I found a wooden B and used gold spray paint. I found little wooden bee-themed accessories at Hobby Lobby and a crown at Joann’s.  

 I wasn’t crazy about the hive or the crown’s color. So I adjusted accordingly using some acrylic paint and little gemstones!   


Lastly, I the leftover fabric scraps from the wreath to make a fabric garland. I found the inspiration in this picture on Pinterest.  

 Mine is below.  


Target, as well, had these black and white bunting banners for $4.99 each. I picked up two to accent my white board.  

Stay tuned for some more detailed classroom decor as I put the finishing touches on the bulletin boards and add in the science curriculum!   

No Longer Fashionable in Fifth Grade?

Well, my blog readers, I am no longer a fifth grade teacher.  Yes, I have officially moved up to a real middle school, specifically sixth grade science.  With this new and obviously exciting development, I will heretofore need to revamp my blog subtitle.  I am no longer fashionable in fifth grade!  Luckily sixth and science are both s’words.  Ah ha!  My teacher mind has kicked in and I am definitely digging the alliteration.  Staying stylish in sixth grade science!  Insert thumbs up emoji here!   (more…)

Pop a Print 

Spring may have finally sprung and it’s time to put away all those boring grays and blacks. One of the best ways to transition a wardrobe to a new season is to add a small pop of print, whether it be leopard, floral, or plaid. You can brighten up and rejuvenate a wardrobe without breaking the bank on a whole new closet of clothing.  (more…)

Pink Blazer

I recently purchased a pink blazer through the Jane website. At less than $20, I wasn’t too concerned when the product was a cheap polyester material with a large single silver button, but I was slightly annoyed at the fact that, as it’s made with such a cheap fabric, I wouldn’t be able to make this piece work for the classroom. I figured a Pinterest search would offer up some good suggestions for how to make this inexpensive blazer more work-friendly. Luckily Pinterest didn’t disappoint!

Pink blazer with stripes:

Pink blazer8 Pink blazer11 Pink blazer13

Pink blazer with polka dots:

Pink blazer7 Pink blazer3 Pink blazer2

Pink blazer dressed up:

Pink blazer6 Pink blazer5 Pink blazer4

Pink blazer dressed down:

Pink blazer14 Pink blazer12 Pink blazer10 Pink blazer9 Pink blazer1

Interested in getting a bright pink blazer of your own to rock this spring? Check out the following inexpensive options!

Fancy Frills Boutique (often featured on Jane)

Mila and Mara (often featured on Groopdealz)

I chose to style my new pink blazer with a warm J. Crew Factory striped sweater, Rockstar black skinny jeans, and over-the-knee black boots.


Do you own a pink blazer? Are you thinking about buying one now?

Your Favorite Staff Meeting Attendees

Staff meetings. An educator’s favorite time of the week. A quick scan of Pinterest gives a sense of what teachers really think of staff meetings.






And my personal favorite…20150107-215350.jpg

But, honestly, every job has meetings. Every job has pointless meetings on a regular basis. Teachers aren’t any different in this aspect and educators have to realize this.

What makes us different is that we work with children and deal with, on a daily basis, the fact that there really are stupid questions.


So why is it that, without fail, one of the educators in the room will ask the dumbest question ever?! Why is it that an educator will speak just to summarize what has just been covered? Sound familiar? Here are a few of the coworkers you are likely to see at every staff meeting.

Coworker 1 – doesn’t realize that we are all chomping at the bit to go… yet still raises hand just as people are packing up to leave

There really isn’t much that hasn’t already been said about this coworker. We’ve all been there and have inwardly groaned, “Just ask your dumb question after the meeting so the rest of us can go!” Unless the question is truly relevant, and chances are it isn’t, the staff meeting leader really needs to step up and dismiss everyone else before getting to this person’s pointless question.

Coworker 2 – needs step-by-step clarification for every. single. directive

I have one student in my class who I have to literally spell out every single step in any given process. Half the time it’s because she’s not listening, but honestly homegirl just does not comprehend on a “with a quickness” speed. Sound familiar?

Unfortunately these traits carry into adulthood and you’ll most likely have one next to you in a staff meeting. Go ahead and be proactive by drawing pictures before the confusion sets in.

Coworker 3 – shares stupid story that nobody cares about

My fifth graders do this all the time and I’ve become quite used to interrupting with, “We are doing ________ right now, not telling stories.” As adults we really should start employing this for our work colleagues. Better yet, be direct. Apparently they’ve yet to receive the message and you’ll be doing us all a favor.


Coworker 4 – asked to share information that could’ve been disseminated via email

Did you really need to take up my time with something that could’ve been put in an email that I could skim, disregard, and eventually delete? I didn’t think so.


So the next time you have a staff meeting, keep yourself occupied not by listening and actively participating, but by pointing out how your coworkers are so much like your students. It’ll make the time go by much faster.

Winter Faves

I have been neglecting my blog something fierce lately. I am so sorry, my friends! If you are teachers (or any type of full-time working mom), you know how stressful the months of November, December, and January can be. But I’m still here. And I hope you are, too.

I’ve stored some of my winter favorites to share with you, and most are completely focused on print-mixing. Stripes and polka dots, leopard and herringbone, any prints can easily be mixed and look downright stylish.

I found this polka dot chiffon top at The Limited and decided to pair it with my thrifted navy striped J. Crew Factory skirt. Both prints include navy, are not too overwhelming, and are fairly neutral.
I love this skirt by J. Crew Factory and it is made in a ton of styles and colors. It’s perfect for tucking in without leaving an unflattering paunch. The skirt has a bubble effect so a shirt that’s a bit more form-fitting balances the look.

I found this vest on GroopDealz and, after waiting over a month for it to arrive, was pleasantly surprised at how closely it resembles the much more expensive versions. At a fraction of the cost it’s just perfect for my budget. You can still find these knockoffs on and GroopDealz, but if you’d rather own an original, eBay and Instagram has plenty of sellers. Just search for herringbone vest.
I paired the leopard with the herringbone mainly because I was participating in two style challenges on that day. One was animal print and the other was vests. I’m not a huge animal print owner and this vest is one of two that I own as well, so my options were limited. But, because the color schemes are similar and I kept everything fairly neutral, the prints matched.

Stay tuned for more of my winter favorites and please share your print-mixing successes with me, too!

Classroom Novels

I recently submitted a Donors Choose project for a class set of the novel Wonder by RJ Palacio. To be honest I hadn’t read it, but the reviews were outstanding and I needed a new novel to begin in January. Luckily my project was funded within 24 hours, thanks to the Kia and Disney match promotional codes. Now I await the arrival.

I went ahead and read the story this weekend, as I was curious, obviously. To be honest, I wasn’t all that impressed. I mean, it has a great message and is totally relevant to my students’ lives, but I wasn’t left feeling “wowed” like I had after reading some of my faves as a kid.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, The Giver, and Island of the Blue Dolphins will always be my favorites. Wonder doesn’t even begin to compare. There’s no real climax and everything feels kind of too perfect at the end. Needless to say, I was disappointed. I know my students will love it and I’ll use it for a few years, but I just don’t see it becoming a classic like the others.

So what are your all-time favorite young adult novels? Am I totally wrong about Wonder? Is there something more contemporary that I should be reading in order to share with my students? Enlighten me!

In the meantime, here’s how I’ve been keeping up with the winter weather and bipolar temps in Indiana.

A great thrifted find on Instagram from @nyc_closetz

A classic look, thanks to J. Crew Factory

The amazing herringbone vest I mentioned in the previous post.

Another thrifted Instagram find from the retail J. Crew. It’s actually 100% cashmere and oh-so-soft.

The Best of Pinterest and Fall Fashion

Hi everyone! I haven’t posted in quite some time. Unfortunately, you can’t get rid of me that easily. I’m back with a brand new laptop/tablet and lots of fun fall fashion advice. Get ready, my pre-winter fashionistas….

The Zara-inspired blanket scarf

I found this gorgeous Zara scarf dupe on GroopDealz, one of the many flash sale websites. The scarf itself is sold by Brina Box for $29.99. This scarf goes with everything, as you can see from these popular pins via Pinterest.

Zara scarf 2Zara scarf 3Zara scarf

The J. Crew-inspired herringbone vest

I just got this gem in the mail on Wednesday, but wore it to Thaup, statement necklace, and skinny jeans paired with black combat boots. I felt very stylish yet unbelievably comfortable. I, again, found this great deal on GroopDealz back in October. The actual seller is Hemline Mom. While it took forever (about 30 days) for the vest to arrive, it was well worth the wait, especially for under $30. Both the J. Crew original and the many dupes have been inundating Pinterest, too.

Jkempf herringbone vestHerringbone vest

The J. Crew versatile skirt

I purchased this amazingly versatile skirt through the J. Crew Factory website during a huge 50% off sale. It’s perfect for the holiday season and, as you can tell from my Instagram pic, goes with all types of prints and sweaters.

The skirt comes in many styles and colors and you can see how this Pinterest goddess accessorized with a vest and flannel popover.

Jcrew skirt 2 Jcrew skirt

Jamberry nails… again!

I’m loving the new Jamberry wraps and, after multiple attempts at applying and always getting wrinkles, I found the best tutorial video here. Using her suggestions, I immediately went to the local CVS and bought a spoon cuticle pusher. My Jams have never looked better! I can’t wait to use the spoon to apply all my new Jamberry wraps!

So what are you all loving this holiday season?

Students and Dogs: How Discipline Among the Two Aren’t Much Different

I’ve had a theory for a while now. Bear with me before passing judgment and believing that I’m crazy. Here it is…

Disciplining children is not so different from disciplining pets, specifically dogs.

What? Children and animals are nothing alike!

Aren’t they? Think about it.

1. Both have an underlying drive to please the parent/master/adult

2. Both have little to no self-control and must be trained/taught to learn expectations

3. Puppy dog eyes, they aren’t just for puppy dogs

Because of the various similarities, I believe that children have to be disciplined in a similar manner to dogs. That is, the discipline must be immediate, to the point, and then put behind us.

When Oakley (one of the three large dogs we own) was a puppy, he was very destructive. He ate everything: a razor, a full package of chicken that included the Saran Wrap and styrofoam, a couch, and so on. When we came home and found the destruction, usually Oakley was hiding under the bed. He already knew he’d done wrong and was caught. After providing an appropriate punishment that was immediate (not given 36 hours later) we had to move on. We couldn’t hold a grudge and still be angry three weeks later. We had to put the incident behind us and hope for better behavior.

Children need the same things. They need immediate consequences, not punishments handed out days later. Punishing after a day is utterly useless. The child has forgotten and has changed mindsets. It’s over in their minds. After providing an immediate consequence, they need to know that the teacher will not continue to hold a grudge or use the incident against them at a later date.

Finally, as a dog owner I have to realize that dogs are dogs. They are going to do dog things, like sniff butts, eat weird stuff, and bark incessantly. This is what dogs do! Children are the same way. Children are going to talk. They’re going to play too rough and be weird. It’s what they do! Providing an appropriate consequence (like telling your pet “NO!” sternly) or giving a time out is an appropriate punishment. You cannot overdo it and give your dog away simply because he jumped on your aunt at Thanksgiving. You cannot write off a child and give up simply because s/he talks in the hallway.

Obviously there are exceptions and nuances to this theory. But, at the end of the day, we all knew what we were getting into by “adopting” a pack of students. Now we all just need to start being more effective trainers.
Casual Friday:
Sweater: Jcrew Factory fair isle
Leggings: Levi’s Legging Jeans
Boots: Diba for DSW