Category: thoughts

20 Things I Learned from my Mom

1546023_10153002254948940_1454609887939616400_nAwhile back I wrote a post about all of the things I learned from my dad. I knew then that I wanted to write one about my mom, but I was having a tough time coming up with a list. My dad is the lecture type (think of your typical TV sitcom dad), so it was easy to come up with twenty lessons. Thinking about what I learned from my mom required a bit more effort, but it was well worth it! I feel so lucky every day to have such amazing, loving parents.

  1. Be kind to everyone. You never know what someone else is going through.
  2. It’s never too late to try again.
  3. No matter what kind of job you have, always give it your best effort.
  4. Cake is a perfectly acceptable breakfast (…..and lunch and dinner).
  5. Life is short. Buy the shirt/shoes/bag/etc.
  6. Animals are a good judge of character. Be wary of people that dogs/cats dislike.
  7. Dance like no one is watching.
  8. Do the dishes as soon as you’re finished eating (your future self will thank you).
  9. It’s okay to choose to stay in when everyone else wants to go out.
  10. Clean with music on.
  11. Follow the big red bus (a.k.a. when the obstacle seems too great to overcome, don’t underestimate the power of distraction).
  12. Telling someone you understand what they’re going through because you have been through it too can make a world of difference.
  13. Take care of your elders.
  14. Be thoughtful – something as simple as buying someone their favorite candy bar or magazine can really make his/her day.
  15. You’re never too old to learn new things.
  16. Say what you’re feeling, but be ready to accommodate other people.
  17. Driving in the city isn’t as scary as it seems (driving at night is, haha).
  18. Crying is sometimes the best medicine.
  19. Paper planners are essential.
  20. Amazing things can happen when you put everything you have into achieving your goals.

I love you, mom!


Three Things I Love This Week

1. The Secret Powers of Time. I stumbled upon this today and I couldn’t help but share. The idea of time being such a big divider- in terms of worldviews, money, and choices- is so interesting; and Professor Philp Zimbardo explains it very well. I especially enjoyed when he touched upon the current education model. Pointing out that because technology has changed the way young people think, school should change as well.

2. First Position“. This documentary, which can be found on Netflix, follows several ballerinas on their journey to the Youth American Grand Prix. The intense competition means getting noticed and possibly earning life changing scholarships. I have always been intrigued by ballet, but this documentary made me appreciate it so much more. The dancers are so disciplined and passionate about what they do; it is very admirable.

3. “Taking Flight”. Following suit with my #2 favorite this week, my #3 is Michaela DePrince’s bootaking-flightk, Taking Flight. Michaela, a ballerina featured in the “First Position” documentary, has a very unique story. Michaela was born in Sierra Leone during the 12 year war. After losing both of her parents, she is sent to an orphanage where she feels hopelessly unwanted. When she finds an old magazine with a ballerina on the cover, she clings to it with a dream of someday becoming that girl with the pretty pink shoes.

In the book we follow Michaela from Sierra Leone to the United States – where she strives to become a ballerina despite the negativity surrounding African Americans and ballet. What Michaela went through as a young child is unfathomable and heartbreaking, but her unwillingness to give up and the love of her adoptive mother is truly inspiring. Whether you love ballet, or hate it, this is a must read!


20 Things I Learned From My Dad

rp_1466142_10151872911803940_1988175929_n-300x292.jpgThe older I get, the more I notice how much I’m like both of my parents. My mom is sensitive and caring, and she won’t hesitate to stay up all night if you need a shoulder to cry on. I see her in myself when I put someone else’s needs before my own, when I worry about doing my best, when I’m honest about my feelings, and when I choose to stay in over going out dancing. My dad has a big heart, he gives good advice, and he enjoys his time alone. I know I’m like him when I tell my friends what they need to hear, when I face problems head on, when I go out of my way to make things easier for someone else, and when I am comfortable sitting alone on a park bench.

While I have learned so much from them, my dad is the lecture type (and good at it, too!). So, feeling inspired by Amy Poehler’s book, I created a list of everything my dad has taught me. I hope you can take from it as much as I have.

  1. If you’re not happy, let someone know. This goes for relationships, family, dining out, and bad customer service.
  2. Work is work. It’s hard, but we have to do it.
  3. It’s polite to pay the check or pick up the tab for people who are hosting you.
  4. Apologize when it’s your fault.
  5. If the car gets you from point A to point B, it works.
  6. Always send thank you notes.
  7. It’s never too late to take a deep breath and start the day over.
  8. Meditation, in even the simplest form, is important and healthy. Take a few minutes each day to count your blessings and ask for help.
  9. Starbucks has the best coffee.
  10. Travel often. Don’t wait for anyone to come with you, or you might never go.
  11. Sometimes all you need to feel better is a big bowl of ice cream.
  12. Worry about money, but not too much. Don’t let it hold you back from experiencing life.
  13. No one has ever died from being tired.
  14. Exercise is important.
  15. Tell people what you want, no one is a mind reader.
  16. Save, save, save! (I have trouble with this one)
  17. Nightmares can be cured with a pinch of food coloring in a glass of water.
  18. Drink a lot of orange juice if you’re feeling sick.
  19. Don’t be so focused on the destination that you forget to enjoy the journey. Pull the car over. Take a moment to enjoy the views.
  20. Never be too afraid to ask for help.

Sick Days: 1

Oh my goodness! It’s so good to get back to blogging! I apologize for my mini hiatus, but it has been a crazy week (like, crazier-than-usual-crazy). The students were on a trip the week before Halloween, so when they returned it was a rush to teach! teach! teach! I had to substitute fifth grade while my kiddies were gone, and boy did I miss them! Being in the fifth grade really made me appreciate my sixth graders. What a difference it is from one grade to the next! So, I was rushing to wrap up our imagined narratives, and finally jump further into Bridge to Terabithia before Halloween, when life hit me with a big, aching, coughing bump in the road. I got sick.

I started to feel it on a Wednesday night, but my temperature never went above 99, so it just didn’t feel right to stay out of work. Despite feeling icky, I put on my big girl pants on Thursday morning and dragged myself to teach! teach! teach! But it turned out to be a mistake, because by the end of the day I was aching all over, all the while smiling at the kids pretending I felt great. Which sounded a lot like this: “Okay, turn to page four. Isn’t it cold in here? Is it cold in here or is it just me? I’m so cold!” By 3:30 I was climbing (more like crawling) into bed with a thermometer in my mouth that read: 102.7, wonderful.

It killed me to miss Halloween. I was really looking forward to seeing all the costumes (I was going to be Hermione), and hearing the scary stories we had worked on the day before. To make things worse, my dad was flying in from Florida that night. I had been excited about his visit for months, and now I wouldn’t be able to do anything but sit on the couch covered in layers of blankets and wallow in my misery. Okay, I’m being dramatic. My dad and I ended up watching a few movies, but we were planning to go on a road trip and have “Thanksgiving” at our favorite diner, so movies felt kind of sad in comparison.

Being sick as a teacher is the absolute worst. Don’t get me wrong, being sick isn’t fun for anyone, but when you’re a teacher it takes significantly more work to be sick. I remember wishing my teachers would take a sick day when I was younger. I couldn’t understand why they never seemed to be absent, it was so much fun to be absent! Now, I get it. Not only is planning for a substitute difficult, but then you worry all day about how things are going: Are the kids behaving? Does the sub understand my plans? I hope they aren’t forgetting that we have a test tomorrow! Who is going to remind them that we have a test tomorrow?! It’s exhausting. And it doesn’t stop when you feel better, because when you return you are greeted with piles of student work, and tons of catch-up planning to do. I know I sound like I’m complaining, but that’s because I am.

Anyways, I’m happy to be back on track! I had parent-teacher conferences this past week, and they went really well. Going into conferences you see it as a very one sided meeting: You’re there to tell the parents what is going on, and they are there to listen; but it’s not like that at all. The conferences ended up being a productive exchange and great conversation. At the end of everything I learned so much about my students, and gained an understanding of them that I wouldn’t be able to get otherwise. I really wish I had made more conferences than I did!

I have a lot of lessons I’m excited to share with you, so be sure to check back soon!



Hitting the Reset Button

At orientation a few weeks before school started, the speakers showed us the graph below to say295x201xphases_2.jpg.pagespeed.ic.GChG1LsPKS, “You’re not alone, this happens to everyone.” Most of us shrugged it off, feeling like October was years away, but now I’m realizing just how accurate this graph is. In what felt like a few days, I went from being really positive and on top of things, to feeling unmotivated and completely stressed. It’s all a bit overwhelming!

That being said, I’m starting to understand that while it’s important to focus on work, it’s equally important to take time for yourself. I know it’s hard to step away from your desk when you have so much to do (I’m very type-A), but sometimes it may actually be what you need to be productive. I’ve found that doing things that are good for my body and mind leaves me feeling much more rejuvenated and ready to get back to work, rather than a marathon of reality TV. So, here’s a list of relaxing, but productive, ways to reset.


  • Read a book, the newspaper, a magazine – anything!
  • Go to the gym or take a short walk (consider walking to the store instead of driving). You’ll be amazed at how even a small amount of exercise will improve your mood.
  • Create a blog, start a diary, or write that story you’ve been keeping in your head.51WAhDYHNcL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_ Need some ideas? I love the book “642 Things to Write About“!
  • Browse travel sites for a mental vacation. Become inspired to start saving money for your dream destination.
  • Meet for coffee with a friend and allow yourself to get lost in conversation for awhile. It may be a good idea, however, to give yourself a time limit, so that you don’t get carried away.
  • Paint, draw, or color – remember how good it feels to think about nothing more than staying inside the lines.
  • Yoga is always a good way to relax. Try the app, Yoga Studio, it’s my favorite!cid1217_2
  • Bake that dessert you’ve had pinned since last year.
  • Clip magazines and make an inspiration board. I update mine every time I need a long break, and I always end up feeling refreshed.



3 Things I Love This Week

1. “Like a Book” Thermal Mug by Kate Spade. I just ordered this, and I can’t wait for it to get here! How cute will it look on my desk!?Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 5.04.21 PM If you sign up for Kate Spade’s mailing list, you’ll receive a code for 15% off your purchase (yay!).

2. “19 Socially Awkward Situations For People Who Are Always Early”. This buzzfeed article really hits home. I’m always early to everything, and when I’m not, I feel awful for being late! I especially love number 13…the struggle.

3. Michelle Obama dancing to Lil Jon’s “Turn Down For What”. I know the First Lady is probably going to get some negative backlash for this video, but I think it’s great; I love how relatable the Obama’s are. Aside from her recent vine, the First Lady has also made appearances on numerous children’s shows, like Sesame Street and iCarly. According to Daily Mail, Michelle Obama is “the most televised first lady in history”. Though the vine is funny, it was made for a good cause – healthy eating. The First Lady is behind the campaign, “Let’s Move!”, which is working to end childhood obesity by encouraging kids to exercise and eat healthy. You can find out more at



3 Things I Love This Week

  • New Girl. I don’t know what made me suddenly give this series another shot, but now that I have, I can’t. stop. watching. I watched a bit of season one a couple of years ago, but it never held my interest. A stroke of boredom (can you believenew-girl-season-3-620x330 I even have time to be bored?), led me to watch season two episode one, and I have been hooked ever since! The lightness of it makes for a good break between everything else I’m doing.
  • The Great Debate. I have been going over commas with the kids this week, so after our lesson I showed this video about the Oxford comma debate. It gets the point across without taking a particular side, and the cartoons are pretty laughable. (P.S. TED Lessons are amazing, I will definitely be using more of them!).
  • Loft. I have absolutely fallen in love with a clothing store. Whenever I’m in Loft I’m tempted to buy everything, but my wallet stops me (you’re a teacher, not a doctor, remember?). Everything is super comfortable, but also very work appropriate. I’ve had my eyes on a pair of boots for awhile and I”m currently kicking myself for not buying them when they had a  40% off everything sale. Speaking of sales, Loft has a a lot of them – so be sure to subscribe to the newsletter! *UPDATE! In the hours after I posted this, Loft announced 50% off the entire site. I finally bought the boots I have been wanting! Use code: OURTREAT, move quickly the sale ends tomorrow (10/9). Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 10.37.44 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-07 at 10.49.36 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-07 at 10.38.11 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-07 at 10.41.26 PM

Do What You Love

I feel like I haven’t posted in forever! With Back to School Night, observations, and SGO’s, the past week was nonstop. It was my first Back to School Night, so I was pretty nervous, but for the most part I think it went well. I even got a few, “You’re my son/daughter’s favorite teacher!”, which is really nice to hear when you put so much time into what you do.

I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately – how to balance it, when to compromise, and when to “ignore the clock”. I have probably mentioned before that I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was in second grade. Now that I’m finally teaching, I have been dedicating nearly all of mrecite-20833--604341407-1b5s14ly time to it. At first it was really overwhelming to realize I wouldn’t have much free time anymore. However, as I got into more of a “groove”, I began to realize it doesn’t matter to me how busy I am, because I enjoy what I do. As cheesy as it may sound, when that struggling student has a lightbulb moment, or the girl who said she doesn’t like reading picks up a book and enjoys it – it makes all of the nights and weekends spent planning worth it.

What I’m getting at, is that you should find what you love and make time for it. As Steve Jobs said, work will take up a large part of your life, so don’t tread lightly on the idea of doing what you love. It should be the most important thing on your “to-do list”, to find the job that makes you happy. And if you’re not doing what you love, I’m a strong believer that it’s never too late to start over.



3 Things I Love This Week

1. Monsieur Adi Orchestral Rework of “Pretty Hurts”. This past Saturday I watched the “On the Run” tour HBO special and I soon after became obsessed with Beyonce. Jay-z is already one of my favorite artists, but seeing them together was mesmerizing. What a power couple! I stumbled upon this version of “Pretty Hurts” and it’s been on replay ever since.

2. Reading at the gym. With everything going on lately, I feel like I have no time for myself. I sometimes get frustrated thinking about all the things I want to do – there are just not enough hours in the day! On a particularly busy day I decided to kill two birds with one stone and bring my book to the gym. I wasn’t expecting to like the idea, but it turns out I love it. I try to do at least a mile a day, but when I’m reading I walk two miles without even noticing. It’s the perfect combination; not only have I found time for reading, but also a reason to walk a bit further!

3. Revlon nail polish. I normally don’t buy nail polish, I think it’s a waste of money ($8.00 for a teeny tiny bottle!) and whenever I paint my nails I chip them almost immediately after. So, I have grown to 300love the colorless look and embrace the au-natuarale. On a recent trip to my local CVS, Revlon’s Colorstay caught my eye. At 6.99 it was just the slightest bit less than Essie and OPI, so I decided to give it a try. I really love the way this nail polish looks professional without having to try too hard and it lasts longer than most other polishes. I had mine on for 10 days without chips (a new record!) and that’s without the top coat they suggest using.


3 Things I Love This Week

1. Sherlock on Netflix 
My fifth grade teacher loved (really, really loved) Sherlock Holmes, so he used that character to make his lessons fun. My favorite memory is when he made one of the mysteries come alive! He set up clues and had a friend stand suspiciously in our school courtyard (which probably would never fly these days). We all stared out the windows with our mouths wide open; we couldn’t believe a real mystery was happening at our tiny school! As fifth graders, we were ecstatic! We were learningsherlock and we didn’t even know it. When I saw that Netflix had a Sherlock series, I had to watch. The episodes are long (about an hour and a half), but worth it! The story takes so many twists and turns that it’s nearly impossible to figure out. But, in true Sherlock fashion, it all comes together in the end and you think: “How did I not catch that?!” The best part? The shows follow Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories almost exactly.

2. Sky Scanner
While I love Kayak and Travelocity, they don’t list every airline (especially Southwest- one of my favorites). On you can see all of the prices at once, rather than flipping between sites!

3. “Henny” by Elizabeth Rose Stanton71y1WC-yztL
Henny is unlike any other chicken…she was born with arms. I came across this book accidentally while I was at the library looking for children’s books to teach plot (more on that another day). I grabbed a few books, only doing a quick flip through to make sure each book was about the same length. When I got home and actually read it, I fell in love! It’s a story about self-esteem in a very subtle way. I definitely recommend it for any age (my sixth graders loved it)!