First Month in Chicago

by katyrose on September 2, 2014

Wow! It’s hard to believe that I have now been a Chicago resident for exactly one month! How is that even possible? It still feels like just yesterday that I was in Milwaukee packing up my things and trying to pack in as many last-minute memories as possible.

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Before school started, and heck even now, I’ve been trying to cram as much adventure as possible into my days. Since I haven’t lived in IL since high school, it’s been a lot of fun to re-discover the city and all that there is to do. I’ve played tourist for the day and visited a few of my all-time favorite spots as well.

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For the first time ever I went to the top of the Sears (ahem Willis) Tower. I stepped out on the all-glass balcony and found it not nearly as frightening as I expected. The views from up there are truly spectacular. Although I have to say I don’t understand why the glass balconies face West. There isn’t much to see out in that direction. North or East facing would make the experience a million times better! Just sayin’.

I also dragged two out-of-town guest to the Billy Goat for lunch, because I feel like that is one of the unique Chicago experiences you can’t miss. Gotta love the hole-in-the-wall place on lower Wacker.

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My sisters and I attended the Bears vs Jaguars game! My first Bears game – ever! Soldier Field is a pretty awesome venue, spending the time with my sisters was great and of course the last-minute win made the whole deal that much sweeter. Can’t wait for the real season to start.

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I went for my first run through my neighborhood, discovering a great park filled with baseball diamonds and a loop path that I am sure will become a regular running route for me. I can’t wait to try running to the lake and back – it’s less than 4 miles from my place!

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I spent the day at Montrose Beach, another first for this IL-native who spent more time in pools than ever on a sandy Lake Michigan beach. I have to say the beach was much better than I expected. The sand was smooth and devoid of rocks and pebbles. Plus the place didn’t smell like the Milwaukee beaches do. And while there were a lot of people there I didn’t feel like everyone was on top of me with no room to breath. Even better I finally got the chance to break in my new Hapari swimsuit!!

I joined a gym by school. It just has the basic cardio and weight machines, which is perfect since I need to squeeze in a workout before school each morning. I get some pretty funny looks on the train in my workout gear while everyone else is in business clothes, but hey it’s the perfect plan for me.

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I’m also discovering all the places around school that I never went to as a student. The Choo-Choo (A MUST with the train that goes around delivering food, amazing chocolate malts and authentic Chicago-style hot dogs), The Tap House (great selection of beers on tap), The Des Plaines Pancake House (where all the elderly men hangout and there are some amazing omelets to eat) – shh… don’t tell all of these are going against the Paleo diet I am trying to live. But hey, you have to break the rules sometimes, right?!

 

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Pulling Together a Hodge-Podge Outfit

by katyrose on August 29, 2014

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This week has already been a whirlwind of adventures for me, including one day in which I couldn’t get home from school due to an accident on the train line! Instead of waiting until late that night to cram onto a train, I crashed at my parent’s house. Since they live close to the school I’m teaching at, it was the perfect solution until I realized I would either need to pull together an outfit from clothing I could scrounge up there or wear the same thing two days in a row. (*gasp* NO!)

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One of my sisters recently went off to college but she left so many things behind in her closet that I ended up snatching up this cargo-style little black dress as well as an adorable maxi dress that I am sure will be making an appearance on the blog soon. In the depths of another closet I found a pair of shoes that used to be mine but I lent to a sister last year for a wedding and never saw again. A quick raid of my mom’s jewelry drawer concluded with the necklace I’m wearing and then a random junk drawer of the college-aged sister’s completed the look with the bracelets and earrings. Overall, not a bad outfit for not having anything of my own and needing to compile an entire look based on the things at home that would fit me.

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Also, this outfit makes me feel a little bit like a flight attendant, in which case I would like to fly to Paris, please.

Have you ever needed to create an outfit quickly without your regular repertoire? How did you do that?

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The Never Fail LBD

by katyrose on August 28, 2014

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Dress: Target
Belt: Target
Shoes: DSW
Necklace: Charming Charlie
Earrings: c/o Mimi Boutique
Watch: Kohls
Bracelets: ??

I can’t believe it is already Thursday morning of my first week!! Insane how fast time flies – at this rate it will be Christmas break before I blink. For the first day of school I decided to play it safe with my go-to, super comfortable, easy to wear and wash, little black dress. From a glimpse of the other staffers that morning I would say I’m not the only one who thought this was perfect first day attire. In fact, the majority of the teachers were in some kind of similar outfit. There were a lot of basic black dresses, a few ultra-comfortable maxi dresses and then a few branched out from there. It cracks me up that we were all thinking along the same lines without a single conversation being had.

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Teachers out there… what did you wear for your first day of school this year? I suppose students aren’t the only ones who worry about what they are wearing for the first day of class.

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I will say as I was taking these pictures my Facebook feed was flooded with pictures of children all standing outside their houses, backpacks slung over their shoulder, smiling for the camera. I felt a little bit like I was taking first day of school pictures too – the kind you can compare year after year to mark the changes, the growth, the development. Too bad that for us adults those changes aren’t the kind you can catch on camera anymore.

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Picking Bridesmaid Dresses

by katyrose on August 25, 2014

This is a Fashionista Event and a promotional item was provided to me by Coupons. com. Hosts for this event are Still Blonde after all these Years and ModlyChic.

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One of the things that I found most challenging when my sister was getting married was the selection of bridesmaid dresses. Sure, there are a million styles out there and just as many colors. But narrowing the selections down to find the perfect dress for the occasion, for the venue, for the body shape of each girl, etc… is more than a little challenging. And of course it is no where near as stressful as finalizing the Bride’s dress, but still. There are many things to take into account.

What To Consider When Picking Dresses for Your Bridesmaids:

  • Color and theme of the wedding. You obviously want to make sure the ladies standing next to you fit in with the overall color scheme and theme of the wedding.
  • Time of year. This might be a subsection under color and theme. But a dress that works well in the summer may be a horrible choice for the winter and the possibility of snow.
  • Body shape. Let’s be honest, not all ladies are shaped the same. Heck, even among my sisters there are some very noticeable differences. Finding a dress, or dresses that actually flatter a variety of shapes can be a serious challenge.
  • Re-usability. Yes, that is the running joke that most brides mistakenly think the dress they chose could be worn again, but seriously why can’t dress selection keep that in mind? (I can’t think of another occasion at which I would wear the dress I wore to my sister’s wedding.)
  • Cost. Your wedding is already expensive, even for those just playing a small role – there is the travel, the hotel accommodations, the wedding gift, the rehearsal dinner attire, the shoes and other accessories that go with the bridesmaid dress. It all adds up quickly and turns into a pretty penny.

No seriously though… can we talk about cost again for a moment? Wedding are expensive for pretty much everyone involved. I remember being shocked at how much I spent on standing up for my sister. Not that I would change that experience for anything but there are so many small hidden costs that add up. The dress doesn’t have to be one of them. Enter Light in the Box.

This site offers an array of discounted wedding and special occasion options. Personally, I love the six-in-one dress styles. To me, that would be the perfect solution to the issue of different body shapes all trying to fit and look good in the same dress. So many ways to customize for each girl while having them all still maintain the same look and color.

I’m not the only one who thinks there is value to be found in being cost efficient with the wedding. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’s Anna Shannon wore a wedding dress that she bought from Light In The Box for only $212. Yeah – a Wedding Dress for under $250!!! That’s pretty much unheard of insane, right?! I love the one-shoulder flower-accent detailing she has going on. So adorable.  (You can check out the steal of a dress and the whole wedding episode, which aired Aug 14th, here.)

Want to score a wedding dress, bridesmaid dress, or anything else on the site for even less? In honor of Anna’s wedding, you can get wedding items from Light in the Box is offering two discount codes through September 5th. Get $12 off $100 with code HoneyBoo12 OR $24 off $200 with code HoneyBoo24. Want even more Light in the Box coupons? Checkout Coupons.com.

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This is a Fashionista Event Opportunity and is hosted by Still Blonde after all these YEARS and yours truly. #MMFallFashion

I can’t believe I am saying this, but it is almost time to pull out the fall clothing! This is insane, especially after the not do hot summer we’ve had. (Does anyone else feel like the last week has been hotter than the rest of the summer?) As with each fall season, I make the mini resolution to incorporate more color into my fall and winter wardrobe. Forget the bland blacks, browns and grays. I want eggplant, emerald, cranberry and sapphire.

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Dress: c/o Monroe and Main
Shoes: DSW
Cami: NikiBiki
Necklace: Charming Charlie (I think)
Earrings: c/o Mimi Boutique
Purse: c/o Mimi Boutique

And apparently Monroe and Main has the same plan for the fall. The company has a whole collection of boldly colored fall items – dresses, boots, purses, shoes and sweaters. Maybe it’s the fact that school starts tomorrow, but I can’t help but think that a colorful fall wardrobe will be one way to keep the attention of those sitting in my classroom.

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Monroe and Main sent me this gorgeous Pocket Surplice Dress. It’s made of a polyester/spandex blend, which feels oh-so great on. Plus, it is machine washable, which will be perfect for when I manage to brush up against the whiteboard in the midst of a lecture. Another amazing thing about Monroe and Main is the fact that a number of their products, including this dress, are made in USA! Plus the knee-length is perfect. And don’t even get me started about the pockets on this dress! Love pockets in a dress. Plus, this beauty comes in a variety of colors included the eggplant, berry, teal, black, brown and a brown print.

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The structure and fit of this dress is actually a lot like the Knot Your Mother’s dress, also from Monroe and Main. I love how all these dresses turn out to be so versatile – easily moving me through several seasons. Check out the other ways I wore this dress and the full Knot Your Mother’s Dress post and review.

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And now… let’s take some time for a great giveaway….

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While you wait to see how I styled the eggplant-colored dress… enter to win this great bag, because who doesn’t want a great basic over-sized tote to add to their collection? Plus you can get it in black OR purple. Personally, I’d go with the purple, since it is such a perfect fall color. Use the Rafflecopter below to enter
a Rafflecopter giveaway
  And even better if you check out the linky below you will see you have 24 other opportunities to win one of these 3-in-1 totes!!

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What I’ve Already Learned about Being a Teacher

by katyrose on August 21, 2014

924450_676721669082077_1956655107_n My classroom before I started cleaning, organizing and purging.

The students don’t arrive until Monday and yet I feel like I have already learned so much about being a teacher. It’s astounding to me the amount of things you take for granted when you are on the student-side of learning. Being in front of the desks instead of in them has opened me eyes and made me respect and love all the teachers I’ve had over the years.

What I’ve Already Learned about Being a Teacher:

  • Curriculum Maps are an amazing way to see your semester at a glance and man do they take brainpower to put together. It’s like one big puzzle where some pieces could potentially go in multiple spots along the way.
  • Lesson plans are a practice in practical application and creativity. Forget straight lecturing. Putting together a plan for each class period involves a lot more than an outline to speak from. (What a difference form my high school teachers who always just straight lectured each and every day.)
  • Weeding through and keeping or pitching the things left behind by previous teachers, in some cases many previous teachers, gives peace of mind. (Goodwill got three boxes full of reference books after I finished organizing.)
  • Decorating a classroom is a fun diversion from lesson plans, but also so crucial to enjoying the time spent inside the room. I hope my students love the vibrant green bulletin board I painted, the plants my mother added and the quotes that now adorn the walls.
  • Writing a cohesive, intelligent, in-depth syllabus for each class takes a lot of work and forethought.
  • Guarding my favorite pens and dry-erase markers is essential. (LOL No but seriously. Shhh… I’m hiding mine behind the huge fern.)
  • Those wall decal quotes really don’t stick to brick walls, just like the packaging says. (The morning after I walked in to find almost every letter scattered on the ground or lost in the depths of my fern. Still can’t find the missing letter A anywhere.)
  • It could just be the school I’m teaching at, but the other teachers are so accommodating, so willing to help, so ready to lend a hand or a piece of advice. It’s such a relief knowing there are many people here ready to help.
  • Getting to school early to work is so much more productive than trying to stay late.
10598659_633236576795705_917818033_n My classroom today – still a work in progress but getting there.

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Let the School Year Begin

August 19, 2014

Skirt: Ann Taylor LOFT Shirt: Kohl’s Shoes: DSW Necklace: Stella & Dot Earrings: House of Harlow Watch: Steinmart Yesterday marked the official start of the academic year at the school where I will be teaching this year. And while the students won’t arrive until next Monday, the faculty and staff are hard at work getting […]

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Capricio Salon – Pampered for a Morning

August 16, 2014

At the end of July I was lucky enough to spend a morning being pampered at Capricio Salon. The timing of this couldn’t have been better as my appointment fell exactly three days after I spent two weeks roughing it at camp. Yes, I love camp but two weeks of being out in the sun, […]

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Preparing for Back to School

August 15, 2014

This is a Fashionista Event and a promotional item was provided to me by Coupons.com. Hosts for this event are Still Blonde after all these Years and yours truly. #NortonBacktoSchool Every day this week and most of last week I have been working hard to get my classroom in order and prepare the classes I will be […]

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Folding Wayfarers – FramesDirect

August 14, 2014

This is a product review post. I was provided an item to review and then share my thoughts and opinions on the item with my readers. As I was packing up my life to move, I realized (although not for the first time) that sunglasses have become collectible items for me. I had brightly colored […]

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