Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Inspired by a Game: Take 2

As soon as I saw this dot and line pattern on Cheeky Jumbo Nail Plate 4, I immediately thought it looked like Connect Four and I knew it would be an easy redemption from yesterday's Tetris nail fail.  I'm definitely much more pleased with this!

After using a base coat to protect my nails, I painted on two coats of Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear White On.  This is a really easy to use white creme.  Next I stamped on using Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Lightening, which is a nice opaque yellow creme.  I was trying to mimic the yellow center of the game, though it didn't show up that well.  It was enough for me to be able to see to dot and that's all I needed.

Next, I used a dotting tool to start filling in dots.  First, I filled in the four in a row winning checkers.  Then I filled in randomly around those dots.  I used Wet N Wild Wild Shine Black Creme and Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Rapid Red.

I remember watching this commercial as a kid and playing this game so this was a fun nostaglic mani for me.  And I definitely think it turned out better than the Tetris one!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Teacher

Most of us have spent time in a classroom as a student.  Today I'm bringing to you one day of my life, a day in the life of a teacher.  Every day as a teacher is different but this is one (real) day of my life.

5:00AM The alarm goes off.  No matter what time of year it is it will be pitch black outside still and I will curse the alarm clock.  I stumble downstairs, use the bathroom and then pour myself the biggest cup of coffee I can find.
5:05AM Go back upstairs.  Wash my face, put in contacts, get dressed all while sipping on that lifesaving cup of coffee.
5:25AM Go back downstairs.  Put my (pre-made) lunch into my bag, check my blood sugar and take my insulin.  Eat breakfast and refill coffee if it's a particularly rough morning.
5:45AM Go back upstairs.  Put on makeup, brush my teeth, and style my hair.
6:00AM Grab my lunch bag, purse, and iPad bag and dash out the door, being sure to say goodbye to all of my kitties before I leave.  Listen to NPR on the drive to work to catch up on current events.
6:30AM Arrive at work.  It's usually still pitch black or very dark so I be sure the stretch between my car and the gate to our school is safe before I get out of my car.  I've never had any problems in the neighborhood where my school is but better safe than sorry.
6:35AM Arrive in my classroom.  Unpack my lunch box, plug in my cell phone and iPad to their chargers.  Answer emails that were sent while I slept last night or that I couldn't answer without being at my work desktop computer.  Work on grading some papers and putting them in my online grade book.  Work on lesson plans for the next week.
7:30AM Another fifth grade teacher stops by to ask how we decide if a student is considered on level, below level or above level on interims and report cards.  Explain the answer to them and discuss how stressed you both are, how there aren't enough hours in the day and how too much is asked of us.  Sigh, with nothing resolved and get back to work.
7:45AM Pass out the iPads to student's desks, pass out scrap paper for them to complete the problem of the day on.
7:50AM Go up to the front office and sign in and check my mailbox.  Since I get to work so early, the office isn't even open when I get there.  My report time varies but the earliest time I have to be at work is 7:45.  Stop and talk to some coworkers in the office.
8:00AM Turn on the projector and set up the morning work problem of the day, which is a math problem in the form of a QR code that students scan and then solve on paper.
8:03AM A fellow fifth grade teacher stops by and asks how reading class is going with your students and what you're planning to use as an assessment this week.  Decide what some good options are.
8:15AM The bell rings to start the day and students start to gradually come into the classroom.  Greet them and collect lunch money, pizza money for a fundraiser, and notes to the front office.  Watch the morning news and then walk students to the library for class.
8:40AM Talk some more with other teachers about how math class is going and share some ideas about how we can teach division for students who still aren't getting it.  We agree it would be helpful to have students use base ten blocks as manipulatives to see why the standard long division algorithm works.  Afterward, squeeze in two minutes for a bathroom break because you won't get to go again until lunch.  Glamorous!
9:10AM After returning from library class, students read independently as I pull students one on one to conference about their reading.  I take notes on my iPad about the conferences.  Meet with four to five students each day.
9:55AM Teach the whole group lessons for reading, vocabulary, and writing.  Marvel at what funny little people these fifth graders are and laugh multiple times at the silly things they say.
10:50 Students write independently as I conference with students one on one again about their writing.  I really enjoy this time, as you really get to know the students when you are one on one.  This is probably one of my favorite times of day.
11:18AM Take the students out to recess and enjoy a break from the go-go-go of the classroom.
11:48AM Lunch!  Enjoy some time talking to adults.  But not much time, because I only get 25 minutes for lunch which includes dropping off the students, using the bathroom, checking my blood sugar and taking my insulin, eating, brushing my teeth, putting my elastics back in and picking up the kids again.  Learn to shovel food in your mouth and talk with your mouth full.  Manners, eh?
12:13PM Pick up the kids and by golly don't be 30 seconds late.  Walk back to the classroom with them.
12:18PM Review the answer to the problem of the day.  Reward students who get the problem correct with a Mio drink.  Today's is Blueberry Lemonade.  Twelve out of eighteen students get the problem correct.  Feel proud that they are learning!
12:30PM Teach math in small group with five to six students at a time.
1:00PM Teach math whole group.
1:30PM Go with the students to the computer lab for their math computer practice time.
1:50PM Take students back to the classroom and teach science.
2:30PM Have the student helper collect and plug in iPads.  Students pack up and walk to their dismissal point on the other side of the school.
2:42PM Parent pick up duty.  Keep 40 kids calm and quiet as they wait for their name to be called to go to their parent's car outside.
3:05PM In-service in the library.  Teachers read a ten page article on best teaching practices, which is taking a lot of effort out of people who have already worked more than eight hours that day.  Then we discuss what stood out to us in the article.
4:00PM In-service ends.  I go back to my classroom and write the objectives on the board for the next day, and finally check the 14 emails I've gotten just since noon.  Respond to the necessary ones.  File graded papers that need to go home the next day.  Clean up the classroom and prepare some things to work on in the morning.
4:40PM Finally walk out to my car and head home.  Listen to NPR on the way home again because I'm a nerd like that.

5:10PM Get home.  Unpack and rinse out lunch tupperware.  Make more coffee for tomorrow.  Eat dinner and catch up with hubby and discuss how our days went.  Do the dishes.  Pay some bills.  Brush my teeth and reinsert elastics.
6:00PM Sit down on the couch.  Publish a pre-written blog post.  Start writing a post about a day in the life of a teacher.  Run out of "free time" and save the post to finish tomorrow.
6:30PM Use my laptop to work on an assignment for the online ESOL class that I am required to take in order to keep my teaching certificate.  Grow irritated as I realize I already learned all this in college.  Answer the slightly slower stream of emails that continue to roll in.
7:00PM Shut down my laptop and head upstairs.  Shower, floss, do my moisturizing routine.  Blow dry my hair.
8:00PM Get into bed with my iPad.  Read ten online pages on special education law for the online ESE class that I am required to take in order to keep my teaching certificate.  Realize that just like with the other class, I learned all of this in college.  Just skim the last few pages.  Take the reading quiz, barely reading the questions and get a 90% on it.
8:45PM Quickly check a few of my favorite blogs.
9:00PM Turn off the lights and go to sleep, knowing that five AM will come far too quickly.

There you have it!  Nothing more exciting than being a work-a-holic!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Inspired by a Game: Take 1

Oh nail challenge fail!  I'd been wanting to try the decal stamping method for awhile, but I forgot to paint a layer of clear polish on before starting and so it turned out a nightmare.  It ended up somehow smudging the silver polish (even though it was dry), wrinkling, smearing, and smudging like a nightmare.  So here is my tetris nails fail.

After my base coat, I applied one coat of Sally Hansen Insta Dri in Silver Sweep.  I stamped on my stamper with Bundle Monster plate BM416 and Essence The Green and the Grunge.  After that dried on my stamper, I used a dotting tool to fill in the tetris pieces with Sally Hansen Presto Pink, Sally Hansen Brisk Blue and Sally Hansen Flashy Fuchsia.  When all that was dry, I layered it with NYC Grand Central Station and let that dry.  Then I peeled off the decals and tried to apply them, where the fail happened.  No worries though, I'll have a better inspired by a game mani for you tomorrow!

Friday, September 12, 2014


Thank goodness it's Friday!  This was a long and trying week and I know there are several more to come so I'm thrilled right now that it's Friday.  Unfortunately, I don't really get too much of a break because I'm working on school work for a class I have to take right now.  For as many classes as I've taken the last few years, you'd really think I'd have more than just a bachelor's degree.  *Sigh*  Oh well, at least they were all free classes.

Today I'm sharing with you another of my teacher school shirt refashions.  This polo is actually one of my good friend's that I work with who happens to be teeny tiny like me.  We're both in the under five foot tall club.  Just like my shirt was way too big, so was hers and since I owed her a favor (or 100) for all the work she did in my classroom last year to help my students, I offered to alter her shirt too, free of charge.  Again, I think the final result, while not perfect, is a huge improvement!  I hope she got to wear her newly fitted shirt today for casual Friday!  Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 11, 2014


I actually bothered to take a second this morning to snap an outfit of the day photo... which is kind of funny because while I like this outfit, it wasn't exactly my favorite ever or even my favorite of this week.  What I really wanted to show was how awesome my new iPad bag is!  As a 1:1 iPad teacher, I take my tablet every where I go at work, and this bag makes it easy to have all my accessories right at my fingertips.  (And no, this post is not sponsored.  I paid for this bag with my own money.)  And the amazing functionality of my bag today seemed to really go with every other aspect of my look.  I was far too tired last night to wash my hair so I knew this morning I wanted to wear it up.  I chose to do a quick twist on both sides of my part and just threw the rest in a ponytail to keep it out of my face.  My outfit was quick but still professional and functional for all the sitting on the carpet I knew I would be doing today as I used base ten blocks to show my students why the algorithm for long division works.  Craziness and exhaustion!  I am so looking forward to this weekend.  Though I'll be working from home most of the weekend (turns out I have to take two more classes this year, grrr), I'll just be happy to sleep in past five AM and to do some work in my pajamas on the couch while sipping coffee and snuggling my neglected kitties.  It's been a long and busy week!

petite hot pink shirt: Ann Taylor Outlet (similar)
black and crystal flower necklace: Papaya (similar)
belt: Ross (similar)
petite black chinos: Walmart (similar)
black sandals: Walmart (exact)
pink watch: Fossil (similar)
iPad bag: Eddie Bauer Outlet (exact)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Inspired by Nature

Today's nail challenge is inspired by nature.  I chose this photo of a bamboo forest for inspiration.

I applied a base coat and then two coats of NYC Fashion Safari.  This is the first time I've used this polish and I think I am in love.  The formula is just perfect, thin but still opaque and a breeze to apply.  It's a perfect nude shade for me and it's under two dollars.

I had originally planned to do some intricate sponging to create a sand and leaf look but I just ran out of time and ended up just shortening the process.  I sponged the cuticle area with Sally Hansen Insta Dri Lickety-Split Lime.  Then I stamped on the bamboo image from Bundle Monster plate BM424.  After everything was fully dry, I topped it with a coat of NYC Grand Central Station.

This was definitely not one of my favorites but that's okay!  At least I can check it off the list.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


I have a lot of empties to share.  Even though most of them have already been posted on the blog, I thought it would be nice to put them all in one place.  Let's start with hair products.

Hair products: 
1. Garnier Fructis Style Flexible Control Hairspray - I won't be repurchasing this.  I just like my Tresemme Tres Two better.  This stuff didn't really hack in during Floridian summer.
2. So Gorgeous Volumizing Root Mousse - Love this!  I already have a back up.
3. Salon Grafix Invisible Dry Spray Shampoo - Another can't live without it product.  This stuff adds texture to my fine hair when it's clean and also absorbs oil when my hair is dirty.  I use it every day.
4. Suave Volumizing Root Boost Spray - Not a fan.  I bought this ages ago looking for a cheaper alternative to my So Gorgeous.  Not gonna happen and never plan to buy this again.

Skin care products:
1. Equate All Day Moisturizing Lotion SPF 15 Sensitive Skin - Love it!  I actually this time bought the nongeneric Olay version but I prefer the Equate brand.  I also hate going to Walmart though so I won't repurchase this for awhile as I only go to Walmart every few months.
2. Dollar General Eye Serum - Definitely will repurchase this!  I'll have to stop by DG this week on the way home from work.

Makeup Products:
I'm not going to discuss these guys since I went on and on about most of them in my Use It Up series.
1. Maybelline Loose Powder
2. Physician's Formula Pressed Powder
3. Benefit Boi-Ing Concealer
4. NYX True Taupe Eyeshadow
5. e.l.f. Studio Blush in Candid Coral
6. Physician's Formula Eyeliners in black and navy
7. Carmex lip balm (I can't live without this product!  It's been in my life for over 20 years now.)
8. Maybelline Colossal Volum' Express Mascara - Love it!  My go to mascara.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Weekend Shopping Haul

This weekend a friend and I went out and about for some much needed retail therapy.  Work has been very busy and stressful and we both thought it would be nice to relax and spend some of that hard earned money.  We hit the outlets along with Ross, Ulta, and Target.  Here's what I found.

First, at the Eddie Bauer Outlet, we found these great iPad bags.  Since I now teach a 1:1 iPad classroom, my world revolves around my iPad and I take it everywhere I go at work.  I've tried about five different iPad bags and all of them had a serious flaw of some sort... until I found this one!  It has lots of compartments and is big enough without being too large.  It is originally $30, but was on sale for 50% off.  You can buy the same one here or here.

Next, I found this awesome navy sweater at Loft Outlet on clearance for $17.99.  I love this because it's still 85+ degrees here in Florida but I'm dying to wear a sweater and pretend that fall is on its way.  The best of both worlds, as I can wear this now with a tee under it and in the winter with a long sleeve shirt under and a scarf.

Finally, at Ross I found this cognac bag from Croft & Barrow for $18.99.  The incredible thing is that I saw this exact bag last week at Kohl's but didn't want to pay the thirty something dollars they were asking.  You can currently buy the exact purse here.  I'm pretty pumped about saving $20 and still getting the exact bag I want.

And also, I thought I'd just throw in this post a scarf I recently purchased from Amazon for under $10.  I participate in the Bing Rewards program, so about twice a month I get a $5 Amazon gift card.  Often I'll use it for stuff for my kiddos to use in the classroom like styluses but I'm all stocked up on those right now so I splurged on this baby for myself.  The one I bought is 48" X 48" so it enormous and going to be super snuggly, warm, and blanket like this winter.  The exact one I purchased is currently sold out, but the one pictured is extremely similar and can be purchased here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Inspired by a Fabric

I wore this shirt to work today so it seemed totally necessary to post this nail challenge on the same day, even though I photographed and wrote this post over a month ago.

Today's nail challenge is inspired by a fabric.  I immediately thought of the print on one of my favorite shirts, seen on the blog here.  I love the imperfect floral print of this top and the colors are great too.  I included a close up of the fabric in the above photo.

Like always, I started with a base coat so my nails didn't get stained.  Then I applied one to two coats of Sally Hansen Insta Dri Pronto Purple.  This was pretty opaque but I didn't get it evenly on all nails, hence why some got a second coat.

Next, I used a dotting tool to blob on some imperfectly shaped pink spots using Sally Hansen Insta Dri Flashy Fuchsia.  Next, I used a small nail art brush to add some C shapes with Sally Hansen Insta Dri Heat Wave.  Then I added a tiny dot of the same shade of purple into the center of the flowers.  Finally, I used Pure Ice First Time to add some metallic olive leaves on my flowers.

When I took these photos, I hadn't yet added a topcoat which is why the texture looks a bit bumpy.  All that nail art polish takes awhile to dry and I didn't want to smear it before I had a chance to take photos.

I think it looks pretty close to my inspiration fabric.  Mission success!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Alterations Needed

This week at work, our free school shirts for the year came in.  (FYI, I blurred out my school logo on it because I don't want people stalking me or my students where I work.  Safety first, peeps.)  I was extremely disappointed when I realized the golf shirt I chose was purchased in a men's size small, not women's.  This might be fine for the average person but for petite 4'11" me, that made the shirt practically unwearable.  It was so big on me I looked like I was playing dress up in my hubby's closet.  See the before photos.  The shoulders fell about six inches past my actual shoulder, the torso was several inches too wide and the length was about five inches too long also.  What's the use of having a free shirt if it's too big and ridiculous to even wear?  Well then I got determined.  When you are as petite as I am, sewing skills come in handy.  And big time alterations were definitely needed on this shirt.

I used this tutorial from YouTube, which was awesome and well explained.  I got a little scared after cutting the entire shirt apart except for the two top seams but it all went well and I am thrilled with the way it turned out.  Another shirt saved!  In the end, I didn't do a perfect job, but it's a huge improvement.  The alterations I made were: shortened the shoulders, took in the torso, and hemmed the length.  I can't wait to wear it this Friday!

Here's the current list of alterations I now know how to do:
1. hem the length of pants
2. take in the waist of pants
3. take in the torso of shirts
4. hem the length of shirts
5. slim the legs of pants (turned a pair from straight to skinny last year so I could wear them with boots)
6. take in the shoulders of a shirt